Timestamps: Bears @ Falcons (0:00:00) | Rams @ Bills (0:07:30) | WFT @ Browns (0:14:20) | Titans @ Vikings (0:20:32) | Raiders @ Patriots (0:25:57) | 49ers @ Giants (0:31:23) | Bengals @ Eagles (0:37:21) | Texans @ Steelers (0:45:06) | Jets @ Colts (0:51:00) | Panthers @ Chargers (0:57:32) | Lions @ Cardinals (1:03:29) | Bucs @ Broncos (1:09:31) | Cowboys @ Seahawks 1:16:09 | Packers @ Saints (1:22:52) | Chiefs @ Ravens (1:29:09) |
Chicago @ Atlanta
Team Totals: Falcons 25.5, Bears 22
For the third straight week, Mitchell Trubisky is an attractive schedule-driven streamer and DFS play beneath Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz dome after the Falcons conceded consecutive overall QB1 fantasy finishes to Russell Wilson and Dak Prescott in games played to extreme high-scoring 38-25 and 40-39 results. Defending the run stoutly but eviscerated through the air, Atlanta presents optimal matchups for enemy passing attacks. Hilariously but promisingly for fantasy players, coach Dan Quinn went out of his Tuesday way to announce the Falcons won’t change their defensive approach after coughing up 78 points through two weeks. Trubisky is also capable of exploiting defenses with his legs; the Falcons gave up 3/29/0 rushing to Wilson and 5/18/3 to Prescott after permitting the NFL’s ninth most QB rushing yards in 2019. … Playing pass-funnel defense, Atlanta held Seahawks and Cowboys backs to 43/138/2 (3.21 YPC) rushing in the first two weeks. This is a riskier spot than it appears at surface level for David Montgomery, who logged Weeks 1-2 snap shares of 45% and 54% and has drawn three targets or fewer in ten straight games. He’s a risky but viable RB2 play with upside driven by this game’s high-scoring potential. … Keeping in line with Quinn’s defensive history, the Falcons have served up 15 running back catches two games in, fourth most in the NFL. Yet theoretical Bears receiving back Tarik Cohen’s three targets were doubled up by Montgomery’s six in Weeks 1-2, and Cohen has finished below 70 yards from scrimmage in seven of his last eight games. He’s scored zero TDs during that span.
Trubisky’s Weeks 1-2 target distribution: Allen Robinson 18; Anthony Miller 9; Jimmy Graham 8; Montgomery and Darnell Mooney 6; Javon Wims 4; Cohen and Cordarrelle Patterson 3; Cole Kmet and Demetrius Harris 2; Ted Ginn 1. … With back-to-back nine-target games and a commanding 38% Air Yards share, fantasy leaguers need to stay confident in Robinson entering Week 3’s gorgeous draw. CeeDee Lamb (6/106/0), Amari Cooper (6/100/0), D.K. Metcalf (4/95/1), and Tyler Lockett (8/92/0) all gave the Falcons’ toothless secondary Weeks 1-2 fits. Plus-sized Giants CB James Bradberry deserves credit for silencing Robinson in shadow coverage last week; Atlanta doesn’t have anyone like him. Robinson is Week 3’s No. 3 buy-low player in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards Model. … Held catch-less on three targets in last week’s win over the Giants, Miller’s lowly snap rates are 40% and 42% through two games in a Bears offense featuring two- and three-tight end sets that frequently remove Miller from the field. Miller’s Week 2 lowlight occurred on a first-quarter touchdown drop. Yet fellow slot men Lamb and Lockett’s success against Atlanta bodes well for Miller, and Chicago is likely to resort to three-receiver formations in a game where Matt Nagy’s team projects to play from behind. In this potential shootout, I like Miller to rebound as a WR4/flex option and DFS-tournament dart. … Graham drew seven Week 1 targets but just one in Week 2. Even in a plus draw, washed-up Graham can’t be trusted as more than a fantasy TE2. … A fifth-round rookie out of Tulane, Mooney runs 4.38 at 5-foot-10, 176 and saw a Weeks 1-2 playing-time jump from 32% to 60%, overtaking Ginn as Chicago’s primary deep threat. Mooney should be owned in all Dynasty leagues and makes for a longshot DFS-tournament option should Ginn be scratched again. The Falcons have allowed a league-high 10 completions of 20-plus yards.
Off to a hot start with fantasy outcomes of QB7 and QB6 under his belt, Matt Ryan draws his toughest to-date test versus the Bears, who have bottled up Matthew Stafford (QB21) and Daniel Jones (QB30) while holding them to a combined 6.56 yards per attempt and 1:2 TD-to-INT ratio. Chicago is positioned for offensive success against Atlanta’s near-nonexistent defense, however, and Ryan enters Week 3 with 300-plus yards and/or two touchdowns in 16-of-17 starts since Dirk Koetter was rehired as offensive coordinator. Even if Ryan’s ceiling is limited by Week 3’s matchup, he is unfailingly a high-floor QB1 play. … Todd Gurley handled 21 carries in last week’s loss to Dallas but was ignored in the passing game, and since the beginning of 2019 Gurley has 212 yards on 50 targets (4.2 YPA), a telltale sign of his diminished in-space usefulness. Still losing touches to Brian Hill and Ito Smith and now missing RT Kaleb McGary (MCL), Gurley continues to project as a relatively high-floor, low-ceiling RB2 play in season-long leagues.
Ryan’s Weeks 1-2 target distribution: Calvin Ridley 22; Russell Gage 21; Julio Jones 16; Hayden Hurst 13; Gurley 5; Brian Hill 4; Ito Smith 3; Olamide Zaccheaus and Luke Stocker 1. … Atlanta’s wideout corps faces its toughest to-date challenge versus Chicago, which bottled up Marvin Jones (4/55/0), Golden Tate (5/47/0), Quintez Cephus (3/43/0), Darius Slayton (3/33/0), and Sterling Shepard (2/29/0) in its first two games. … The story of Jones’ Week 2 would have been different had Julio not dropped a surefire, 42-yard second-half touchdown pass delivered by Gage from the Wildcat. Koetter attributed Julio’s slow game (2/24/0) to Dallas’ frequent double teams and Jones’ hamstring injury, reinforcing dominant route runner Ridley as Atlanta’s top fantasy pass-catcher play. … Ridley, by the way, leads all NFL wide receivers in fantasy points and red-zone targets (5). Ridley’s devastating routes and voluminous scoring-position usage lock him in as a top-five WR1 going forward, regardless of matchups. … As forecasted in Week 2’s Matchups column, Hurst ousted Gage in the receiving column at Dallas and popped off top-eight TE1 numbers (5/72/1) in JerryWorld. Hurst draws Week 3’s most favorable matchup among Falcons pass catchers; last year’s Bears coughed up the league’s fifth most receptions to tight ends, before T.J. Hockenson (5/56/1) and Evan Engram (6/65/0) beat or met expectations versus Chicago in Weeks 1-2.
Score Prediction: Falcons 27, Bears 23
L.A. Rams @ Buffalo
Team Totals: Bills 25, Rams 22.5
The NFC’s run-heaviest team through two weeks, the Rams visit Buffalo with a combined 79-to-58 run-pass ratio in wins over Dallas and Philadelphia. Injuries to Cam Akers (ribs) and Malcolm Brown (pinkie) threaten to throw a wrench into Sean McVay’s approach, however, and visiting Buffalo may further discourage it after the Bills stacked up Jets and Dolphins backs for a combined rushing line of 33/133/2 (4.03 YPC) in Weeks 1-2. Regardless, Darrell Henderson should be rostered in all leagues after erupting for 121 yards on 14 touches in last week’s victory, including an explosive 40-yard, up-the-gut run in the second half and a goal-line TD in the fourth quarter. Henderson left the University of Memphis with one of college football’s best-ever yards-per-carry averages (8.2), and the Rams traded up for him in the 2019 draft. As Akers’ rib-cartilage separation sounds worrisome and Brown is far from an insurmountable obstacle, Henderson is a sleeper to emerge as an eventual RB1. … Jared Goff’s hot start will be put to the test against Sean McDermott’s fundamentally sound defense, which held Sam Darnold to Week 1’s QB28 result before Ryan Fitzpatrick touched up Buffalo for 328 yards and two scores on a whopping 47 pass attempts, largely driven by Week 2 comeback mode. I personally will be fading Goff in Week 3.
Goff’s Weeks 1-2 target distribution: Robert Woods 13; Cooper Kupp 11; Tyler Higbee 9; Van Jefferson 8; Brown 4; Henderson and Josh Reynolds 3; Gerald Everett 2; Akers 1. … This is a Revenge Game for Woods, who saved his Week 2 box score with a first-quarter, 5-yard rushing touchdown on a reverse. Through two games, Buffalo’s stingy secondary has checked perimeter WRs DeVante Parker (5/56/1), Preston Williams (1/26/0), and Breshad Perriman (3/17/0), while slots Jamison Crowder (7/115/1) and Isaiah Ford (7/76/0) beat expectations against the Bills. For the second straight week, I like Kupp’s odds of leading L.A. in receiving with Woods taking something of a backseat. Both remain every-week WR2s in season-long leagues. … Coming off Week 2’s touchdown hat trick, Higbee will be a less confident TE1 play should Bills WLB Matt Milano (hamstring) and MLB Tremaine Edmunds (shoulder) return. With both sidelined last week, Buffalo got ethered by Mike Gesicki (8/130/1). … Jefferson and Reynolds’ timeshare is putting a lid on each receiver’s box-score upside. Jefferson drew five Week 2 targets but played 38% of the Rams’ offensive snaps versus Reynolds’ 61%. They’ll need a Woods or Kupp injury to become truly fantasy relevant.
Josh Allen entered the season with zero 300-yard passing games across 27 NFL starts. He opened 2020 with 312- and 417-yard performances supplemented by 77 rushing yards and seven all-purpose TDs. After fileting the Jets and Dolphins, the Rams represent Allen’s toughest challenge yet after first-year DC Brandon Staley’s L.A. defense stymied Dak Prescott (QB19) and Carson Wentz (QB24) while holding the Cowboys and Eagles to 36 combined points. Nevertheless, Allen’s rushing floor and elite weaponry, and OC Brian Daboll’s +EV playcalling and offensive design warrant matchup-proof QB1 treatment. Through two games, Allen is fantasy’s No. 2 overall quarterback behind Russell Wilson. Allen also leads the NFL in play-action pass attempts (37) and has banked 404 yards with a 5:0 TD-to-INT ratio when pressured. … After yielding a rushing line of 48/220/2 (4.58 YPC) and 11/113/1 receiving to Eagles and Cowboys backs, the Rams offer a plus matchup for Buffalo’s Devin Singletary–Zack Moss tandem. Singletary is the slightly preferred flex option after out-touching Moss 12 to 8 and out-snapping him 56% to 46% in last week’s win over Miami. Still, their tandem usage caps both Bills backs’ ceilings and lowers their floors regardless of opponents.
Allen’s Weeks 1-2 target distribution: Stefon Diggs 22; John Brown 16; Cole Beasley 13; Singletary 10; Dawson Knox 6; Isaiah McKenzie 5; Moss 4; Gabriel Davis 3. … Diggs turned in a spectacular Week 2, torturing Dolphins rookie CB Noah Igbinoghene for nearly all of his 8/153/1 receiving line and painting the box score with highlight-reel catches. His Air Yards share up to a team-high 38%, Diggs is a confident WR2 play despite Week 3’s tough matchup. Keyed by Jalen Ramsey’s perimeter coverage, the Rams have held Amari Cooper (10/81/0), DeSean Jackson (6/64/0), CeeDee Lamb (5/59/0), Michael Gallup (3/50/0), Jalen Reagor (4/41/0), and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (0/0) to at- or below-expectation stat lines two games in. … Maintaining a steady 33% Air Yards share despite Diggs’ superior target volume, Brown produced WR2 results in each of Buffalo’s first two games and iced last week’s win over Miami on a 46-yard scoring bomb. Diggs and Brown figure to share time in Ramsey’s Week 3 shadow. Brown is a WR3 with WR2 upside versus L.A. … Beasley has stayed PPR relevant with catch totals of 4 and 5 in Weeks 1-2. Fellow slot men Lamb and Greg Ward’s (1/5/0) early outcomes against the Rams suggest Beasley remains an unexciting WR4/flex option. … Knox seems likely to miss Week 3 after suffering a Week 2 concussion. The sophomore tight end’s direct backup is Tyler Kroft, who has yet to be targeted in 2020.
Score Prediction: Bills 21, Rams 20
Washington @ Cleveland
Team Totals: Browns 25.5, Washington 18.5
Fresh off a mini-bye following Thursday night’s win over Cincinnati, the Browns’ D/ST is an exciting play against Dwayne Haskins, who appears to be struggling in first-year OC Scott Turner’s system. Haskins was pummeled for seven sacks and 19 combined hits in Weeks 1-2 playing behind one of the league’s worst left tackle- (Geron Christian) left guard (Wes Martin) combinations, while RG Brandon Scherff (MCL) is now out 3-5 weeks. … Washington’s backfield pendulum predictably swung toward top talent Antonio Gibson in Week 2’s loss to Arizona. Opening Day TD vulture Peyton Barber was weeded out to the tune of one touch on one snap, while Gibson (14 touches, 65% snaps) worked as WFT’s clear lead back ahead of J.D. McKissic (8, 44%). This is not an overly favorable setup for Gibson; the Browns held Ravens and Bengals running backs to a Weeks 1-2 rushing line of 38/117/2 (3.08 YPC), while Washington faces rushing-unfriendly game script as a 7-point road dog. Nevertheless, Gibson is now flex-play viable and trending toward RB2 value so long as he continues to separate from his weak in-house competition.
Haskins’ Weeks 1-2 target distribution: Terry McLaurin and Logan Thomas 17; Dontrelle Inman 10; Steven Sims 8; McKissic 5; Gibson 4; Antonio Gandy-Golden and Marcus Baugh 1. … Although he figures to spend much of Week 3 dealing with Denzel Ward, McLaurin flashed matchup-proof capability by overcoming last week’s Patrick Peterson meeting for 7/125/1 receiving highlighted by a 24-yard fourth-quarter score in Peterson’s coverage. Over his last eight games, McLaurin is on a 76/1,216/6 full-season pace. He retook Washington’s Air Yards percentage lead (34.3%) from Thomas (26.8%) last week and should keep it the rest of the year. … Despite a frustratingly inefficient Week 2 game, Thomas’ usage is right where we want it for continued TE1 treatment. LT3’s snap rate rose to 91% after a 74% opener, while Travis Kelce (20) is the NFL’s lone tight end with more targets. Exposable at linebacker and safety, the Browns were eaten alive for 7/61/2 by Ravens TEs in Week 1 and 11/87/1 by Bengals TEs in Week 2. Promisingly, LT3 checked in as Week 3’s No. 1 buy-low tight end in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards Model. … Sims is worth matchup-driven WR4/flex discussion in deeper PPR leagues after clearing 50 yards in each of Washington’s first two games. Fellow slot WRs Willie Snead (4/64/1 on four targets) and Tyler Boyd (7/72/1 on eight targets) touched up Cleveland for above-expectation results in the first two weeks.
Baker Mayfield enters Week 3 with underwhelming fantasy outcomes of QB30 and QB21 under his 2020 belt. But Mayfield’s second-game improvement in confidence, decisiveness, and accuracy can’t be overlooked and bodes well for the outlook of Cleveland’s offense. In a game the Browns project to control and limit Mayfield’s volume, he’s just a two-QB-league play. … Getting back mauling RT Jack Conklin (ankle/finger) from his Week 2 absence, the Browns’ multi-dimensional rushing attack should stay hot even against Washington’s talented front. Cleveland is favored by a touchdown at home, while Nick Chubb (RB1) and Kareem Hunt (RB2/flex) each warrant every-week starter treatment in season-long leagues. Chubb faces Washington with a 32/184/2 (5.75 YPC) rushing line against Baltimore and Cincinnati, while Hunt’s is 23/158/1 (6.87 YPC) with eight targets compared to Chubb’s two. The Browns built their offense to bully opponents and should continue to do so here in run-friendly game script.
Mayfield’s Weeks 1-2 target distribution: Odell Beckham 16; Jarvis Landry 9; Hunt 8; Austin Hooper 6; KhaDarel Hodge 5; Harrison Bryant 4; David Njoku 3; Chubb 2; Rashard Higgins and Stephen Carlson 1. … Mayfield and OBJ finally looked on the same page against the Bengals, and two games in Beckham’s target (26%) and Air Yards (40%) shares are right where we want them. Nothing about Washington’s secondary suggests we should value Beckham below upside WR2 range. The Football Team has given up the NFL’s eighth-most yards to enemy wideouts (372) two weeks in. … On snap rates of 71% and 60%, the Browns eased Landry into the year following offseason hip surgery, but he should resume every-down duties coming off a long week. Fellow slot WRs Andy Isabella (2/67/0), Larry Fitzgerald (7/50/0), and Greg Ward (5/31/0) all met or beat expectations against Washington in Weeks 1-2. I’m viewing Landry as a low-upside but passable PPR-specific WR3/flex option. … I’m giving Hooper one more week before bailing entirely; only six NFL defenses have surrendered more fantasy points to tight ends than Washington’s. But Hooper’s receiving usage has been extremely discouraging with an anemic 9.7% target share, and the Browns have no intentions of becoming a voluminous passing team anytime soon.
Score Prediction: Browns 24, Washington 17
Tennessee @ Minnesota
Team Totals: Titans 24.75, Vikings 22.25
The undefeated Titans visit the winless Vikings with Ryan Tannehill having turned in consecutive top-15 quarterback scores, including last week’s four-touchdown eruption against Jacksonville. Tannehill is back in QB1 streamer contention inside Minnesota’s U.S. Bank Stadium Dome after Aaron Rodgers and Philip Rivers combined to complete 51-of-69 passes (74%) for 578 yards (8.4 YPA), five touchdowns, and one pick versus Mike Zimmer’s defense in Weeks 1-2. Unable to rush the passer minus LE Danielle Hunter (I.R.), the Vikings have pathetically managed four QB hits and two sacks two games in. … Disappointing from a rushing-efficiency standpoint in Tennessee’s first two games, Derrick Henry encounters another possible blowup spot at Minnesota. The Vikings were trampled for over 150 rushing yards and a touchdown in each of the first two weeks and are now without WLB Anthony Barr (pectoral, I.R.). The Big Dog leads the NFL in touches (59) and should soon experience positive-touchdown regression.
Tannehill’s Weeks 1-2 target distribution: Corey Davis and Adam Humphries 13; Jonnu Smith 12; A.J. Brown 8; Anthony Firkser 6; Henry 5; Kalif Raymond and Cameron Batson 2; Jeremy McNichols and MyCole Pruitt 1. … With Brown (knee) still sidelined, Davis warrants WR3 treatment with WR2 upside against Minnesota’s porous backend. Davis beat stingy Jaguars rookie CB C.J. Henderson on last week’s nine-yard score and is leading Tennessee in both targets and Air Yards share (32.4%). Davante Adams (14/156/2), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (4/96/1), and Allen Lazard (4/63/1) all beat expectations against the Vikings in Week 1, and T.Y. Hilton would have joined them if not for last week’s devastating 44-yard touchdown drop. … A much bigger part of Tennessee’s passing offense than he was last year, Humphries warrants PPR-specific WR4/flex consideration based on his enhanced role and this week’s plus draw. Humphries’ Week 2 18-yard touchdown catch came on an absolutely insane throw from Tannehill – just as a Jaguars defender was crushing him – and showed Tannehill has faith in Humphries to finish plays. … Smith leads the Titans in red-zone targets (3) and has converted all three for scores. He’s earned locked-in TE1 treatment with Brown on the shelf. Fellow athletic TE Mo Alie-Cox did nasty things (5/111/0) to Minnesota’s middle-of-field defense last week, and Barr’s loss will be felt in tight end pass coverage.
Fantasy’s overall QB30 scorer two weeks in, Kirk Cousins remains a fade regardless of opponent in one of the NFL’s least talented offenses. Old-school coach Mike Zimmer and OC Gary Kubiak limited Cousins to 25 pass attempts or fewer in each of the first two weeks, while Cousins’ lack of rushing ability keeps both his floor and ceiling low. Including playoffs, Cousins has cleared 20 rushing yards in 3-of-35 starts (8.6%) since signing with the Vikings. Minnesota’s offense remains stuck in the Stone Age, having run a league-low 96 plays from scrimmage. … After keeping afloat with bunny TDs in Minnesota’s first two games, Dalvin Cook encounters his best to-date setup against the Titans, who Broncos and Jaguars backs fried for a combined 41/211/2 (5.15 YPC) rushing line in Weeks 1-2. Alleged workload threat Alexander Mattison’s playing time dipped from 37% against the Packers to 20% at Indianapolis, while Cook retook a convincing 80% share of the Vikings’ Week 2 touches. Cook is a confident RB1 play here.
Cousins’ Weeks 1-2 target distribution: Adam Thielen 16; Bisi Johnson 7; Mattison and Justin Jefferson 6; Irv Smith 5; Cook 4; Kyle Rudolph 3; Tajae Sharpe 1. … Fantasy leaguers need to shake off Thielen’s slow Week 2 box score and focus on his monopolization of Minnesota’s pass volume. Thielen’s 53% Air Yards share leads the NFL, while Tennessee is missing top-two CBs Adoree Jackson (knee) and Malcolm Butler (quad). … No Vikings complementary pass catchers have earned fantasy relevance, unsurprising considering Minnesota ranks dead last in the NFC in pass attempts (51). Smith’s to-date usage inspires zero confidence, but his matchup does stand out. Fellow TEs Noah Fant (5/81/1), James O’Shaughnessy (4/40/0), and Tyler Eifert (3/36/1) all met or beat Weeks 1-2 box-score expectations against the Titans. At least in tight end-premium leagues, I’m trying to leave the light on for Smith for one more week.
Score Prediction: Titans 30, Vikings 21
Las Vegas @ New England
Team Totals: Patriots 26.75, Raiders 21.25
The undefeated Raiders visit Foxboro on a short week following last Monday night’s upset of the Saints. Playing grind-it-out, short-area offense keyed so far by Josh Jacobs’ league-leading 59 touches, Las Vegas looks likely to encounter the Patriots without both RT Trent Brown (calf) and LG Richie Incognito (Achilles’, I.R.), while Jacobs’ Week 2 efficiency was compromised by a slew of nagging in-game injuries. New England held Miami and Seattle backs to a combined 47/184/1 (3.91 YPC) rushing line in Weeks 1-2. Jacobs is a boom-bust RB1 play as a severe road-dog running back in a difficult draw. After Jacobs showed he couldn’t physically handle bellcow usage against the Saints, expect to see more of Jalen Richard and Devontae Booker on a short week. … In two career meetings with Bill Belichick’s defense, Derek Carr is 49-of-83 passing (59%) for 411 yards (4.95 YPA), one touchdown, and two interceptions. Despite Week 2’s efficient game versus New Orleans, Carr is a two-quarterback-league play only at New England. Offenses facing the Patriots have managed 118 combined snaps, third fewest in the league.
Carr’s Weeks 1-2 target distribution: Darren Waller 24; Jacobs 9; Henry Ruggs 8; Hunter Renfrow 5; Booker 4; Bryan Edwards 3; Nelson Agholor, Jason Witten, and Alec Ingold 2; Richard, Foster Moreau, and Zay Jones 1. … No. 2 behind only DeAndre Hopkins in 2020 targets and receptions (18), Waller is virtually certain to be a focal point of Belichick’s Week 3 defensive game plan. The Pats all but silenced Mike Gesicki (3/30/0) in Week 1 before holding Seahawks tight ends to nine scoreless yards on two Week 2 targets. … Presumably still nursing the knee injury he sustained on Opening Day, Ruggs’ Week 2 snap rate dropped to 61%, and he essentially operated as a coverage-attracting decoy versus New Orleans. The rookie is now playing on a short week and going cross country to face Stephon Gilmore. … Slot man Renfrow is playing only half of the Raiders’ offensive snaps and commanding a microscopic target share (7.4%). … Albeit run blocking well, Edwards has yet to carve out a meaningful role in Las Vegas’ passing attack. Edwards’ playing time surprisingly dipped from 75% in Week 1 to 61% in Week 2.
Refinding top-five QB1 form, Cam Newton comes off last Sunday night’s incredible 444-yard, three-TD performance in Seattle to face a Raiders defense that yielded Weeks 1-2 point totals of 30 (Panthers) and 24 (Saints) and is traveling cross country on a short week. Only three NFL players have more red-zone rushes than Cam (11), and only one has more runs inside the five (5). A legit candidate for multiple rushing TDs and passing TDs each week, Newton is a no-doubt fantasy starter versus Vegas and warrants DFS popularity. As New England to cover Sunday’s 5.5-point spread is one of my biggest Week 3 betting positions, I found it personally notable that Cam’s career passing TD Rate jumps from 4.2% when trailing to 4.8% with the lead, while his QB rating rises from 83.0 when behind to 87.0 when in front. … Cam’s rushing dominance combined with New England’s RBBC renders all Patriots backs season-long fantasy fades. Even with James White (personal) inactive for Week 2, no New England back topped ten touches against the Seahawks. Beyond its quarterback, the Pats’ backfield has never been less fantasy fruitful.
Newton’s Weeks 1-2 target distribution: Julian Edelman and N’Keal Harry 18; Damiere Byrd 9; Rex Burkhead 6; Ryan Izzo 4; White 3; Sony Michel, J.J. Taylor, and Jakobi Meyers 1. … Across the NFL, only Adam Thielen (53.4%) has a higher Air Yards share than Edelman, who is running more downfield routes than ever in OC Josh McDaniel’s revised attack. Edelman is easily the Pats’ top DFS-stack partner in Cam lineups. … Despite persistent on-field errors, Harry’s 28.6% target share and 83% snap rate position him to smash his pre-season ADP and turn Harry into a usable WR3/flex. Harry is mainly being targeted close to the line of scrimmage, setting up run-after-catch chances. … Catch-less in Week 1 before delivering 72 yards on nine Week 2 targets at Seattle, Byrd is New England’s top deep threat and followed Cam from Carolina to New England. Yet Las Vegas has given up just four 20-plus-yard completions two games in.
Score Prediction: Patriots 30, Raiders 20
San Francisco @ NY Giants
Team Totals: 49ers 23, Giants 19
In what they hope will be a short-term absence for Jimmy Garoppolo (high ankle sprain), the 49ers are turning to 2018 eight-game starter Nick Mullens against the G-Men. Although Mullens acquitted himself well two seasons ago – 8.3 YPA, 4.7% TD Rate – he will play Sunday’s game at a major disadvantage missing Raheem Mostert (knee), Tevin Coleman (knee), Deebo Samuel (foot), C Weston Richburg, and (probably) George Kittle (knee). Even in a plus draw, San Francisco’s shorthanded supporting cast renders Mullens a low-end two-QB-league option. … Due to wideout and tight end shortages, the 49ers enter Week 3 having thrown a league-high 37% of their passes to running backs, while Bears RBs caught a perfect 7-of-7 targets for 70 yards and a touchdown against the Giants last week. This bodes well for early-season sparkplug Jerick McKinnon, who is unlikely to inherit post-Mostert and Coleman workhorse duties but has a realistic chance to operate as the focal point of San Francisco’s Week 3 passing game. … 49ers beat writers expect Jeffrey Wilson to lead the team in Week 3 carries, giving Wilson flex-play life in a plum spot. Giants DC Patrick Graham’s unit served up 130-plus rushing yards in each of its first two games. … With Mostert’s timeline uncertain and Coleman out for at least a month, deep leaguers need to get familiar with UDFA rookie JaMycal Hasty, who is likely to factor into the Niners’ backfield mix.
Amid quarterback change and widespread personnel uncertainty, no 49ers pass catcher aside from perhaps McKinnon is safe, even against the lowly G-Men. … Although Kendrick Bourne leads San Francisco in Air Yards share (38.4%), Bourne appears to be the likeliest 49er to attract Giants top CB James Bradberry’s shadow. Bradberry all but blanked Allen Robinson (3/33/0) last week, while Bourne has just 101 scoreless yards on 10 targets two weeks in. … First-round pick Brandon Aiyuk is another candidate for Bradberry’s coverage after playing 72% of San Francisco’s offensive snaps in his Week 2 NFL debut. … Expect bigger but likely fantasy-irrelevant Week 3 roles for slot man Trent Taylor and depth TE Ross Dwelley. … If forced to choose a 49ers wide receiver or tight end to play against the G-Men, Jordan Reed would be the guy. Kyle Shanahan seemingly proactively called pass plays for Reed whenever he was in during last week’s victory over the Jets, and Reed delivered with an 18-yard first-half touchdown, then got past Jets top DB Marcus Maye on his second-quarter, four-yard score.
Minus Saquon Barkley (ACL) and Sterling Shepard (toe), Daniel Jones faces a 49ers defense that is just as depleted without DEs Nick Bosa (ACL) and Dee Ford (knee), DT Solomon Thomas (ACL), and top CB Richard Sherman (calf). Yet Jones’ individual play has inspired minimal confidence with QB15 (Steelers) and QB31 (Bears) results under his belt, while “Dimes” has remained a turnover machine with three picks, one fumble lost, and seven sacks taken. Despite its injuries, I would rather bet on the 49ers’ D/ST than Jones this week. … Even after Devonta Freeman’s signing, Dion Lewis is my pick to pace Giants backs in going-forward PPR points. New York’s offensive line is creating an NFL-low 0.3 yards before contact – setting up its ball carriers to fail – while OC Jason Garrett trusted Lewis enough to dominate Week 2’s post-Barkley backfield in snaps (88%) and touches (14). What’s left in Freeman’s tank is to be determined, and the Giants lack confidence in Wayne Gallman’s all-around game. As Freeman learns on the job, Lewis is clearly the Giants’ running back unit’s top flex-play bet for Week 3 against the Niners.
Jones’ Week 2 target distribution: Evan Engram 8; Darius Slayton 6; Lewis and Golden Tate 5; Shepard 4; C.J. Board and Kaden Smith 3; Damion Ratley 2. … After Cardinals and Jets tight ends managed 26 scoreless yards on eight targets against the 49ers in Weeks 1-2 – and San Francisco gave up 2019’s fifth fewest fantasy points to tight ends – Engram’s Week 3 matchup looks imposing on paper. In last year’s four games where Engram played but Shepard missed, Engram’s stat lines were 6/48/0, 1/6/0, 4/40/1, and 6/48/0. He’s a fringe TE1/2 with better days ahead. … Still the Giants’ leader in Air Yards share (36%), Slayton is New York’s highest-ceiling pass-catcher play versus the Sherman-less 49ers, who yielded above-expectation results of 14/151/0 receiving to DeAndre Hopkins and 6/75/0 to Chris Hogan in their first two games. … Tate was 2019’s biggest beneficiary of Shepard’s absences, banking stat lines of 6/102/1, 6/80/0, 8/85/0, 6/42/0, and 4/95/2. As Tate is no longer on the injury report and fellow slot WR Braxton Berrios dropped 6/59/1 on the Niners last week, Tate merits WR3/flex discussion here.
Score Prediction: Giants 23, 49ers 20
Cincinnati @ Philadelphia
Team Totals: Eagles 26.5, Bengals 20
Even as Joe Mixon’s Weeks 1-2 results and persistent passing-down substitutions in favor of Giovani Bernard feel discouraging, Mixon banked 20 touches in both games and stands out as one of season-long fantasy’s top buy lows. The Bengals featured Mixon as a receiver in last Thursday night’s loss to Cleveland (4/40/0), while Cincy’s offense is likely to improve as Joe Burrow’s rookie year progresses. Mixon’s breakthrough may not occur at Philadelphia – the Bengals are 6.5-point road dogs, and the Eagles held Washington and Rams backs to a combined 55/204/3 (3.71 YPC) rushing line with just five receptions in Weeks 1-2. But Cincinnati draws Jacksonville and Indianapolis in two of its next three games, and few NFL backs have more job security than Mixon. … Burrow’s dual-threat capability was a somewhat overlooked part of his pre-draft evaluation; through two NFL starts, 2020’s No. 1 overall pick ranks fifth among quarterbacks in carries (15) and sixth in rushing yards (65), including Week 1’s 23-yard draw-play score. Burrow’s running game heightens his floor as a two-QB-league play, even if Week 3’s matchup could go either way. The Eagles held Dwayne Haskins to Week 1’s QB27 fantasy result, then coughed up Week 2’s QB11 outcome to Jared Goff on a scintillating 9.9 yards per pass attempt. It does help that Philly DC Jim Schwartz has implemented a nearly 20% hike from 2019 in man-to-man defense (Sports Info Solutions), which dual-threat QBs like Burrow are likelier to exploit with their legs than zone coverage.
Burrow’s Weeks 1-2 target distribution: A.J. Green 22; Tyler Boyd 13; Gio 12; C.J. Uzomah 11; Drew Sample 10; John Ross and Mike Thomas 7; Mixon and Tee Higgins 6. … Green’s early-season tape and production are troubling; the 32-year-old has eked out 80 scoreless yards on a whopping 22 targets (3.6 YPT), looking robotic on the field and persistently failing to win contested balls. Yet AJG has come within inches of four TDs, leads the NFL in end-zone targets (6) and enters Week 3 with a massive 43% Air Yards share. Fueled almost entirely by opportunity, Green is a boom-bust WR3 play in season-long leagues and worthy of DFS-tournament consideration at Philly. It helps that AJG is Week 3’s No. 2 buy-low player in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards Model. … Boyd’s matchup is better than Green’s; whereas opposing top outside WRs Terry McLaurin (5/61/0) and Robert Woods (2/14/0) have fallen short of expectations against the Eagles, fellow slot men Steven Sims and Cooper Kupp have efficiently secured 8-of-9 targets for 131 yards (14.6 YPA) versus Philly. … 2019 second-round pick Sample is flush with opportunity following Uzomah’s Achilles’ tear, while enemy TEs Logan Thomas (4/37/1) and Tyler Higbee (5/54/3) each beat expectations in Weeks 1-2 against the Eagles, who field one of the league’s poorest linebacker-safety combinations. … Ross went from leading Cincy’s wide receivers in Week 1 snaps (84%) to going catch-less in Week 2 at Cleveland on a 32% playing-time clip. He was essentially demoted in favor of Higgins (68%) and Thomas (36%). … Auden Tate was a healthy Week 2 scratch and has zero targets on the year.
After facing Washington’s vicious front and Aaron Donald in his first two games, Carson Wentz catches a Bengals defense that pathetically managed two sacks and four QB hits in Weeks 1-2 and didn’t touch Baker Mayfield once last Thursday night. With all of his pass catchers in plus spots, Wentz looks poised for a breakout game. He should be teed up as an upside QB1 and DFS-tournament play, where Wentz will almost certainly go under-owned. I banged the over hard on this game’s 46.5-point total. … This is a smash spot for Miles Sanders; even as each team dealt with offensive line woes, Chargers and Browns backs ethered Cincinnati for a combined 65/358/4 (5.51 YPC) rushing line in Weeks 1-2. Eagles coach Doug Pederson’s staff stood behind Sanders after last week’s first-drive lost fumble, and Miles repaid them with 131 yards and a score on 23 touches. Including playoffs, Sanders has averaged 19.8 touches for 105.9 yards over his last eight games along with five touchdowns, good for a 10-score 16-game pace. I like the contrarian idea of game stacking Bengals-Eagles in DFS tournaments with roster builds that involve, say, Wentz plus Sanders plus DeSean Jackson or one of Philly’s tight ends and “bringing it back” with A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, or Drew Sample.
Update: Jalen Reagor is back on the shelf with a torn UCL in his thumb. The same injury cost Drew Brees five games last year. At this point, Reagor is a definitive drop in 10- and 12-team season-long leagues. The Eagles will have to rely even more on DeSean Jackson as their uncontested No. 1 receiver.
Update II: Forward-thinking season-long leaguers needy at receiver should consider picking up Alshon Jeffery (foot), who resumed practicing this week and may be healthy enough to return in Week 4. Jalen Reagor‘s extended absence frees up enough playing time for Jeffery to take over as Philly’s No. 2 outside receiver opposite DeSean Jackson soon after Alshon is cleared to play. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside just hasn’t been a factor at all.
Wentz’s Weeks 1-2 target distribution: Dallas Goedert 17; DeSean Jackson 16; Zach Ertz 14; Greg Ward and Jalen Reagor 8; Sanders 7; Boston Scott 5; John Hightower 4; J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Corey Clement 2. … Including playoffs, Goedert has drawn eight or more targets in five straight games. Despite his slow Week 2, Goedert remains low-end TE1 trustworthy running routes against Cincy’s unimposing linebacker unit. … D-Jax has yet to deliver a big 2020 game but enters Week 3 leading Philly in Air Yards share (37%). He also led the team in Week 2 targets, catches, and receiving yards. Jackson is a classic boom-bust WR3 after the Bengals’ secondary got Odell Beckham off the schneid last Thursday night (4/74/1). Week 3’s No. 4 buy-low player in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards Model, Jackson is a tempting DFS-tournament play in Sunday’s plus draw. … Ertz hit Week 1 paydirt, then caught five balls in last week’s loss to the Rams. Ertz draws his best to-date matchup versus Cincinnati, projecting as a high-floor TE1 play. … Reagor’s snaps leapt from 59% in Week 1 to 89% in Week 2, and his Air Yards share is up to 19.6%, second on the team behind D-Jax. Yet to top four targets in an individual game, Reagor is a boom-bust WR4/flex against the Bengals.
Score Prediction: Eagles 30, Bengals 23
Houston @ Pittsburgh
Team Totals: Steelers 24.5, Texans 20.5
Deshaun Watson is in trouble visiting Heinz Field; through two weeks, the Steelers lead the league in pressure rate (46%) and blitz percentage (59%), while Sports Info Solutions has charged Houston with an NFL-high 45% pressure rate allowed. Watson has thrown a pick or taken a sack on 9-of-38 pressured dropbacks (24%). I’d be willing to start QB1 streamers over Watson and confidently consider Pittsburgh among Week 3’s premier D/ST plays. … David Johnson’s sell-high window slammed shut when Baltimore held him to 50 scoreless yards on 13 Week 2 touches ahead of Duke Johnson’s (ankle) expected Week 3 return to stifle David’s target share. The Steelers have held enemy backs to a 38/97/0 (2.55 YPC) rushing line, while David faces game-script risk as a four-point road dog. He’s a low-floor RB2/flex option here.
Watson’s Weeks 1-2 target distribution: Brandin Cooks 13; Will Fuller 10; Randall Cobb and Jordan Akins 9; David 8; Darren Fells 6; Kenny Stills 5; DeAndre Carter and Keke Coutee 2; Duke 1. … Hobbled by an Opening Day quad injury, Cooks resumed full-time duties at Baltimore en route to team highs in targets (8) and yards (95) on a 90% snap rate. Cooks benefited from Fuller’s hamstring/cramping issues, however, and just one enemy receiver has topped 66 yards against Pittsburgh’s secondary so far. With Fuller absent from Week 3’s injury report, Cooks is an unconfident WR4/flex option in a worrisome spot for Houston’s passing game. … This is a wait-and-see week for Fuller, whose health remains in question. If Fuller does deliver at Pittsburgh, he’ll reemerge as a confident WR2 play against the Vikings’ toothless secondary in Week 4. … Playing a low-upside role on his new team, Cobb has scored one touchdown over his last 15 games. … Akins racked up a career-high seven Week 2 catches, mostly in garbage time. Fells scored the Texans’ lone tight end touchdown and remains Watson’s preferred red-zone option.
Following offseason Tommy John surgery, Ben Roethlisberger continued to reinforce his arm health in Week 2’s win over Denver via his second straight top-ten QB1 finish. Ben looked especially sharp on an early fourth-quarter rollout to his right, finding Diontae Johnson from 28 yards out on a ball placed where only Johnson could catch it. In Weeks 1-2, Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson combined to go 42-of-56 passing (75%) for 415 yards and a 4:1 TD-to-INT ratio against the Texans. Roethlisberger is a rock-solid QB1 play. The Steelers’ team total (24.5) over and Pittsburgh to cover this game’s four-point spread are two of my favorite Week 3 bets. … James Conner convincingly retook bellcow duties last week, pouring 121 yards and a score on the Broncos highlighted by a game-icing 59-yard fourth-quarter burst. Week 1 star Benny Snell netted one yard on four touches and lost a second-half fumble in a development that couldn’t possibly have gone better for Conner. Especially with stud RG David DeCastro (knee) back after missing the first two games, Conner again warrants RB1 treatment versus Houston. Game script projects to work in his favor with Pittsburgh favored by four points at home, while Chiefs and Ravens backs combined to clock the Texans for 53/337/2 (6.36 YPC) rushing in Weeks 1-2.
Ben’s Weeks 1-2 target distribution: Diontae Johnson 23; JuJu Smith-Schuster 14; James Washington 8; Eric Ebron 7; Conner 6; Chase Claypool 5; Vance McDonald 4; Jaylen Samuels 3; Snell 2. … Dominating targets and Air Yards share (35%), Johnson is a high-floor, high-ceiling WR2 against the Texans with 50-plus yards and/or a touchdown in six straight games. Johnson’s usage and talent give him a real chance to finish 2020 with WR1 production. Season-long leaguers should try trading for him wherever possible until Johnson’s immense value is popularly accepted. … JuJu isn’t getting many big-play chances, but he’s difficult to quibble with following a two-touchdown opener and seven-catch Week 2. Over his last 16 starts with Roethlisberger quarterbacking, Smith-Schuster has averaged 6.5 catches for 80.6 yards with eight touchdowns. … Washington hit pay dirt in Week 1, and Claypool did so in Week 2 on an 84-yard second-quarter sprint. Although Washington and Claypool’s timeshare renders each near-term WR4 options, Claypool’s talent superiority is obvious on game tape, and it’s only a matter of time before he earns a full-time role in Pittsburgh’s offense. Claypool is a spitting image of Vincent Jackson; anyone who thought Claypool should “convert to tight end” coming out of college deserves an exclamation-marked “L.”… Ebron hasn’t carved out a robust enough target share for TE1 trustworthiness against a Texans defense that held Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews to 50 yards or fewer in its first two games.
Score Prediction: Steelers 28, Texans 21
NY Jets @ Indianapolis
Team Totals: Colts 27, Jets 16.5
Waxed by the 49ers’ injury-induced junior varsity team at home last week, the Jets asserted themselves as the NFL’s worst team, perhaps by a severe margin. Likely or certain to play Week 3 without Le’Veon Bell (hamstring), Jamison Crowder (hamstring), Breshad Perriman (ankle), and C Connor McGovern (hamstring), Gang Green’s outlook is no rosier at Indianapolis, which ranks top three in sacks (7) and has allowed the NFL’s eighth fewest points per game (19.0). Fantasy’s QB29 two weeks in, Sam Darnold is a green-light attack target for the Colts’ D/ST. … After Indianapolis held Jaguars and Vikings backs to a modest Weeks 1-2 rushing line of 33/138/1 (4.18 YPC), this sets up as another full-fade spot for the Jets’ backfield. Adam Gase embarrassingly called 21 rushing plays for 37-year-old Frank Gore in Week 2’s blowout loss to San Francisco, even as rookie Lamical Perine clearly looked like the most dynamic back on the team. As massive road underdogs, Jets running backs continue to warrant fantasy ignorance.
Darnold’s Weeks 1-2 target distribution: Crowder 13; Chris Hogan 12; Chris Herndon 11; Braxton Berrios 8; Perriman 7; Josh Malone 6; Gore, Kalen Ballage, and Josh Adams 2. … As Indianapolis’ zone defense has yet to allow a wideout to clear 50 yards, Hogan deserves opportunity-driven WR4/flex consideration at best following Week 2’s 75-yard effort. Hogan banged his ribs in last week’s loss to San Francisco and probably isn’t 100%. … Perhaps FS Malik Hooker’s year-ending Achilles’ tear will make a difference, but the Colts have defended tight ends stoutly thus far; Jaguars and Vikings TEs combined to catch 3-of-7 targets for 11 scoreless yards against Indy in Weeks 1-2. The Jets’ wide receiver injuries seem likely to funnel volume to Herndon, yet this week’s matchup isn’t necessarily favorable, and Gase confusingly has Herndon blocking frequently; a whopping 25 tight ends ran more Weeks 1-2 routes. If Herndon can’t produce here, he will be drop material in season-long leagues. … Crowder fill-in Berrios looks like the favorite to lead New York in receiving for the second straight week after fellow slot men Keelan Cole (5/47/1) and Justin Jefferson (3/44/0) did the same against Indy in the first two games.
With Indy favored by 10.5 points at home, projected script distinctly favors Jonathan Taylor against a Jets defense Bills and 49ers backs smeared for 45/225/2 (5.0 YPC) rushing, 12/82/1 receiving, and a 153.5 total-yards average in Weeks 1-2. In Marlon Mack’s (Achilles’, I.R.) absence, Taylor immediately assumed bellcow duties in last Sunday’s 28-11 beatdown of Minnesota; the rookie power back banked 28 touches on 73% of the Colts’ snaps, while Jordan Wilkins (9) out-touched apparent Week 1 pan flash Nyheim Hines (1). Taylor belongs among Week 3’s most popular DFS plays, and in season-long leagues I would value only Ezekiel Elliott and Alvin Kamara over Taylor going forward. … I’m hanging onto Hines everywhere; OC Nick Sirianni indicated Hines’ role will fluctuate week to week based on game plan. It sounds like Hines will have a much bigger role in games where the Colts project to play from behind. (Not this week.) … Wilkins appears to be the new true handcuff to Taylor, making him roster worthy in 12- and 14-team leagues. A natural tackle breaker, Wilkins has impressively averaged 5.7 career yards per carry. … Far more so than Opening Day, the Colts’ Week 2 deployment of Philip Rivers reflected Frank Reich & Co.’s plan for their 38-year-old quarterback. Indianapolis finished with a run-pass ratio of 40 to 25 in its win over the Vikings, while Rivers followed up his Week 1 QB22 result with Week 2’s QB28 number. Even against the lowly Jets, Rivers remains a low-ceiling two-quarterback-league-only play.
Update: Jack Doyle (ankle/knee) somewhat surprisingly practiced on Thursday, giving him a shot to play against the Jets. Doyle’s return would lessen Mo Alie-Cox‘s TE1-play reliability by cutting into Alie-Cox’s projected snaps and targets.
Rivers’ Weeks 1-2 target distribution: T.Y. Hilton 14; Hines and Parris Campbell 9; Taylor, Michael Pittman, and Mo Alie-Cox 8; Zach Pascal 7; Jack Doyle 4; Ashton Dulin 1. … Hilton has been a liability so far with three costly drops, including last week’s would-be first-half 44-yard score. Yet T.Y. easily leads the Colts in targets, and only six NFL players have commanded a higher share of their team’s Air Yards (39%). For better or worse, I’m going back to the T.Y. well versus the hapless Jets, who’ve yielded at- or above-expectation results to Stefon Diggs (8/86/0), John Brown (6/70/1), Kendrick Bourne (4/67/0), and Cole Beasley (4/58/0). … Campbell’s season-threatening knee injury moves Pascal to slot receiver with Hilton and Pittman outside. Pittman is an obvious buy in a probable full-time rest-of-season role, while Pascal is an underrated deep-league add. … As Doyle (ankle/knee) appears likely to miss at least one more game, Alie-Cox should be stapled into fantasy lineups after a beastly Week 2 debut as Indy’s receiving tight end. Shaking off a first-quarter bobble that became an interception inside the Vikings’ five-yard line, Alie-Cox turned his ensuing five targets into 111 yards. Including last week’s Jordan Reed eruption (7/50/2), tight ends facing the Jets have caught 10-of-12 targets for 81 yards and two scores.
Score Prediction: Colts 24, Jets 10
Carolina @ L.A. Chargers
Team Totals: Chargers 25.25, Panthers 18.75
The Chargers’ defense confirmed its legitimacy by limiting the Bengals to 13 Opening Day points and Andy Reid’s team to 23, tied for Kansas City’s fewest over Patrick Mahomes’ last 15 starts. Having held Joe Burrow to Week 1’s QB20 result and Mahomes to last week’s QB9 score, the Bolts present a highly unappealing matchup for Teddy Bridgewater, who’s yet to bank a fantasy outcome above QB18 through two games and is likely to lose passing efficiency as the Panthers downgrade from Christian McCaffrey (ankle) to journeyman Mike Davis in the backfield. … Bengals and Chiefs backs managed a combined 34/135/0 (3.97 YPC) rushing line against the Chargers in Weeks 1-2. In a game Los Angeles looks likely to control and enforce its ball-control mentality, I worry about Carolina’s time of possession and play volume cutting into their offensive production. Mike Davis is also no lock to dominate touches over Reggie Bonnafon and Curtis Samuel. Davis is a PPR-specific flex option in this rushing-unfriendly draw.
Bridgewater’s Weeks 1-2 target distribution: D.J. Moore 22; Robby Anderson 18; Curtis Samuel 10; McCaffrey 9; Davis 8; Ian Thomas, Seth Roberts, and Chris Manhertz 2. … Fourth in the NFL in Air Yards share (47.6%) and fourth among wide receivers in raw targets, Moore’s mammoth usage warrants opponent-proof WR1 treatment. Dating back to 2019, Moore has cleared 80 yards and/or hit paydirt in eight of his last ten games. … Yet another player whose game-breaking talent was suffocated by Adam Gase’s horrific coaching, ex-Jet Anderson has earned every-week WR3 valuation with WR2 upside as Carolina’s clear-cut No. 2 passing-game weapon. Fellow burner Tyreek Hill (5/99/1) tortured this same Chargers secondary last week, while Anderson opened his Panthers tenure with consecutive 100-yard games, a robust 34.3% Air Yards share that would lead numerous other NFL teams, and a nine-target average after Anderson averaged just six per game for Gase’s 2019 Jets. … Even as Samuel’s receiving involvement has underwhelmed, McCaffrey’s loss gives Samuel fantasy life after he logged five carries in Carolina’s first two games. Coach Matt Rhule talked up Samuel as a tailback option before camp, while Samuel left Ohio State with 71 more rushing attempts than receptions, a 7.5 yards-per-carry average, and 15 rushing TDs in three years. If you see Samuel hit your season-long waiver wire, pick him up. It’s not crazy to think he could add running back eligibility over the next month. … Simply not involved in first-year OC Joe Brady’s passing attack, Thomas is a season-long drop with two targets on 58 routes.
Installed as Week 2’s starter on literal last-minute notice, Justin Herbert comported himself in poised and promising fashion, elevated his teammates’ production, and kept the Bolts within three points of the defending Super Bowl champs in an overtime loss. Knocked as an arch-conservative passer coming out of Oregon’s spread, Herbert aggressively challenged the Chiefs downfield and demonstrated his 92nd-percentile athleticism on a 4/18/1 rushing line. Now facing arguably the league’s worst defense, Herbert is a cinch two-QB-league play with enough upside for DFS tournaments. … No NFL team has given up more fantasy points to running backs than the Panthers, highlighted by a league-high six rushing TDs allowed. Already tied for sixth in the NFL in carries (35) and the favorite for scoring-position runs in Los Angeles’ backfield, Joshua Kelley is a locked-in RB2 play in one of the softest and rushing-friendliest spots he’ll catch all year. The Chargers are favored by nearly a touchdown at home. … Herbert’s early installation is excellent news for Austin Ekeler, whose receiving usage was in danger of being compromised with Tyrod Taylor (punctured lung) under center. Ekeler improved from one catch for three yards in Taylor’s Week 1 start to 4/55/0 receiving with Herbert last week. Ekeler has regained RB1 valuation.
Herbert’s Week 2 target distribution: Keenan Allen 10; Hunter Henry 8; Ekeler and Mike Williams 4; Kelley 3; Jalen Guyton 2. … Among fantasy’s most elementary fades with Tyrod under center, Allen is back in the WR1/2 mix with Herbert at the controls. Even after popping off for 96 yards on seven grabs versus Kansas City, Allen showed up as Josh Hermsmeyer’s No. 1 buy-low player in Week 3’s Air Yards Model, suggesting Herbert and Allen left meat on the Week 2 bone. Throwing to wide receivers versus Carolina has been an extremely positive-expectation proposition; Raiders and Bucs wideouts caught 18-of-26 targets (69.2%) for 271 yards (10.4 YPA) and two touchdowns against the Panthers in Weeks 1-2. … Sporting an eight-target average with 70-plus yards in each of L.A.’s first two games, Henry is a locked-in TE1 versus Carolina. Henry’s 25% Air Yards share is seventh among tight ends. … Even after Williams turned in a slow Week 2 in Herbert’s debut, matchup and usage continue to work in his upside WR4/flex favor. Williams still leads the Bolts in Air Yards share (35.6%) and won’t get a better matchup this year.
Score Prediction: Chargers 24, Panthers 17
Tampa Bay @ Denver
Team Totals: Bucs 24.5, Broncos 18.5
Leonard Fournette asserted himself as Tampa Bay’s best all-around back in last week’s predictable destruction of Carolina, capitalizing on Ronald Jones’ second-quarter lost fumble to score a goal-line TD later in the half and house call a fourth-quarter up-the-gut carry from 46 yards out. Passing-down back LeSean McCoy contributed to the Bucs’ comedy of backfield errors with a fourth-quarter end-zone drop. Fournette wound up leading Bucs backs in snaps (46%), touches (16), and total yards (116) against the Panthers. Even if Jones and McCoy stay involved to an extent, Fournette has earned low-end RB2/flex valuation on a Bucs team favored by nearly a touchdown over Jeff Driskel’s Broncos. Denver coughed up an efficient 19/111/1 (5.84 YPC) rushing line to Steelers backs last Sunday, losing DLs Dre’Mont Jones (knee) and DeMarcus Walker (calf) to multi-week injuries in the process. … Also badly missing Von Miller (ACL) and top CB A.J. Bouye (shoulder), the Broncos enter Week 3 with only two sacks and ten combined QB hits after facing 86 dropbacks from Ryan Tannehill and Ben Roethlisberger. Tannehill dropped Week 1’s QB15 outcome on Vic Fangio’s defense before Big Ben stung the Broncos for last week’s QB14 result. With Chris Godwin (concussion) back, Tom Brady is a fringe QB1/2 play at Denver.
Brady’s Weeks 1-2 target distribution: Mike Evans 14; Scotty Miller and O.J. Howard 9; McCoy 8; Chris Godwin 7; Fournette 6; Jones and Justin Watson 5; Rob Gronkowski 4; Cameron Brate 1. … After Corey Davis (7/101/0), Diontae Johnson (8/92/1), Chase Claypool (3/88/1), JuJu Smith-Schuster (7/48/0), and Adam Humphries (6/47/0) touched up Denver’s secondary for PPR-useful results in Weeks 1-2, Evans should be teed up as a cinch WR1 play. Clearly past his pre-Week 1 hamstring injury, Evans is playing 90% of the Bucs’ offensive snaps and commanding a team-high 24% Air Yards share. He easily dusted Panthers top CB Donte Jackson on last week’s 23-yard score. Per PFF’s Jarad Evans, the Broncos have given up league highs in targets (40), catches (31), and yards (368) to opposing outside receivers. … Fellow slot men Smith-Schuster and Humphries’ success against the Broncos bodes favorably for Godwin, who played 60% of his Week 1 snaps inside before missing Week 2. Godwin paced the Bucs in Week 1 targets, catches, and yards, and at 6-foot-1, 209 possesses a significant size advantage on Broncos slot CB Bryce Callahan (5’9/183). … Miller did benefit from Godwin’s Week 2 absence – his playing time rose from 61% to 69% — but Miller was essentially ignored by Brady following an early drop. … An entrenched role player, Howard ranks 35th among tight ends in routes run. Gronk ranks 27th but is being deployed as a near full-time blocker.
Drew Lock’s rotator cuff strain thrusts Jeff Driskel into the Broncos’ quarterback seat for at least the next two games, which he’ll play without No. 1 WR Courtland Sutton (ACL). Although Driskel is athletic enough to deliver usable two-QB-league production in plus matchups (e.g. Week 4 at the Jets), Week 3 presents the opposite against a Bucs defense that suffocated Drew Brees for Week 1’s QB24 result and Teddy Bridgewater for last week’s QB29 score. Driskel absorbed six sacks on 40 Week 2 dropbacks off the bench and is an exciting target for Tampa Bay’s D/ST. … Melvin Gordon dominated touches (21) and snaps (79%) over Royce Freeman (3, 21%) in Phillip Lindsay’s (toe) first missed game, delivering RB2 production with 84 yards and a receiving TD even in Denver’s brutal matchup against Pittsburgh. Tampa’s run defense is similarly stout; DC Todd Bowles’ unit stymied Saints and Panthers backs for a 47/120/3 (2.55 YPC) rushing line in Weeks 1-2. The Bucs have yielded a league-high 168 receiving yards to running backs, however, keeping Gordon RB2/flex playable in season-long leagues. Although his target counts don’t yet reflect it, only four NFL backs have run more routes than Gordon (49) thus far.
Driskel’s Week 2 target distribution: K.J. Hamler 7; Jerry Jeudy 6; Noah Fant 5; Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick 4; Gordon and DaeSean Hamilton 3; Nick Vannett 1. … Driskel’s inaccuracy sets up Broncos pass catchers for low-efficiency production as part of a low-scoring team facing one of the NFL’s premier defenses. … Sidelined in Week 1 (hamstring), Hamler banked a 62% Week 2 playing-time clip. Hamler is an intriguing Dynasty prospect with minimal season-long appeal as a raw rookie in what projects as one of the NFL’s worst offenses. … Jeudy leads the Broncos in Air Yards share (25%) but has dropped 3-of-15 targets, leaving way too many yards on the field. With Sutton out of commission, Jeudy should still be rostered in all season-long leagues as Denver’s top remaining wide receiver talent. The Broncos draw a far softer passing-game matchup in Week 4 at the Jets, while Jeudy popped as Week 3’s No. 5 buy-low player in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards Model and is likely destined for near-term positive regression. … With Sutton inactive for Week 1, Fant paced Denver in receiving (5/81/1). Having banked TD catches in each of the first two weeks on a 75% playing-time clip, Fant is the Broncos’ most confident Week 3 fantasy pass-catcher start against Tampa Bay.
Score Prediction: Bucs 24, Broncos 14
Detroit @ Arizona
Team Totals: Cardinals 30, Lions 24.5
It may feel uncomfortable after Detroit’s slow start, but this is a green-light buy window for Lions skill players with their schedule opening up considerably going forward. It begins in Week 3’s second highest-totaled game with Kenny Golladay returning to rejuvenate OC Darrell Bevell’s vertical passing attack. Matthew Stafford led all 2019 quarterbacks in 20-plus-yard pass percentage (22%), but that rate has fallen to 10.7% in two games sans Golladay. Stafford tore up Cardinals DC Vance Joseph’s unit for 385 yards, three touchdowns, and 22 rushing yards when these teams met in Week 1 last season. … The Lions maintained a frustrating three-man RBBC in last week’s loss to Green Bay. D’Andre Swift led the way in touches (10) and targets (5) but played one snap fewer (19) than Kerryon Johnson (20), who punched in a first-quarter goal-line score. Adrian Peterson (7 touches, 15 snaps) was a close No. 3 in the pecking order. Tied for sixth among NFL backs in targets (10), Swift’s passing-game usage and obvious talent superiority make him the best Lions back to hold, but none of them will be confident RB2 plays until the committee reduces from a three- to two-man ordeal. Swift is a risky, PPR-only flex at Arizona.
Patrick Peterson no longer looks like an imposing matchup for enemy wideouts after Terry McLaurin tormented him (7/125/1) last week. Peterson also struggled after returning from his six-game PEDs suspension in 2019. In his 2020 debut, Kenny Golladay warrants upside WR2 treatment here. … Golladay’s return should benefit Marvin Jones; speed-deficient fifth-round rookie fill-in Quintez Cephus didn’t get it done with 97 scoreless yards on 13 targets (7.5 YPT) in Weeks 1-2, and Golladay’s ability to stretch the field can open up opportunities for others. Jones is a WR3/flex play in this probable high-scoring affair. … T.J. Hockenson’s usage has been disappointing in that he ranks 19th among tight ends in routes run and drew just nine combined targets in Golladay’s two games missed. Of course, Hockenson made the most of those limited chances by catching all nine targets for 118 yards and a touchdown. Based on expected game environment, it’s going to be difficult to turn away from Hockenson as a TE1 play at Arizona, especially after he eviscerated the Cardinals (6/131/1) in last year’s Opening Day game.
Kyler Murray is a shoo-in top-five quarterback play against the Lions, who Mitchell Trubisky and Aaron Rodgers combined to rip for a 5:0 TD-to-INT ratio in squeaky-clean Weeks 1-2 pockets; Matt Patricia’s pass rush-less defense predictably ranks bottom three in sacks (2) and bottom six in QB hits (8). The Lions continue to refuse to blitz, notable since Murray has thrown 19 of his 22 career touchdown passes and scored 6-of-7 rushing TDs on non-blitzed plays. Murray-to-DeAndre Hopkins stacks were a Week 2 DFS hit and deserve popularity again. Patricia’s man-coverage obsession foreshadows another big rushing day for Murray. … Off to a somewhat slow start, Kenyan Drake offers Week 3 breakout potential against a Lions defense Bears and Packers backs disemboweled for a 51/353/2 (6.92 YPC) rushing line in the first two games. Favored at home, Drake stands to benefit from run-friendly script after he out-touched Chase Edmonds 22 to 6 in last week’s win over Washington. … Due to this game’s shootout projection and his 35% role as a satellite back in Arizona’s high-octane offense, fantasy leaguers hurting at running back could do worse than Edmonds as a low-end RB2/flex play. The Lions are so beatable up front that two running backs from the same team in the same game can deliver useful fantasy results.
Update: Christian Kirk (groin) has been out of practice this week. His absence would bring Andy Isabella into play as a longshot DFS-tournament option in Week 3’s second highest-totaled game. Kirk has been operating as a low-volume deep threat, a role which Isabella would fit fairly seamlessly.
Kyler’s Weeks 1-2 target distribution: DeAndre Hopkins 25; Larry Fitzgerald 12; Edmonds and Christian Kirk 9; Dan Arnold 6; Drake 4; Andy Isabella and Maxx Williams 2. … Leading the league in targets and catches (22), Hopkins should have no problem piling up receiving volume against Detroit. Just as much as Murray-Hopkins stacks, I like “onslaught” DFS-tournament lineups involving Murray, Hopkins, and Drake to capitalize on all of Arizona’s incoming touchdowns. … Essentially operating as the Cardinals’ tight end, Fitzgerald is running short-area routes and laying out would-be tacklers in the run game. He’s a PPR-specific WR4/flex with a low ceiling. … Even with just two catches on the year, Kirk leads Arizona in Air Yards share (36.1%) and is likely to have a big game soon. Both Hopkins and Fitzgerald are working close to the line of scrimmage. Kirk is Arizona’s primary deep threat. … Minus Williams – who is now on I.R. (ankle) – Arnold’s snaps rose from 55% in Week 1 to 73% in Week 2, and his targets doubled from 2 to 4. The Lions awakened Jimmy Graham’s slumber (3/25/1) in Week 1 and gave Robert Tonyan (2/25/1) life in Week 2. At very least, Arnold should be owned in tight end-premium leagues.
Score Prediction: Cardinals 35, Lions 27
Dallas @ Seattle
Team Totals: Seahawks 30, Cowboys 25.5
Galvanized by last week’s 40-39 comeback win over Atlanta, the Cowboys visit CenturyLink Field with Dak Prescott coming off one of the best performances of his career. Overcoming a cluster of offensive line losses and a 20-0 first-quarter deficit, Prescott produced Week 2’s overall QB1 score powered by three rushing touchdowns and 450 passing yards, the second most of Dak’s career. Despite Dallas’ up-front injuries, Prescott has absorbed just two sacks and 12 hits on 96 dropbacks two games in. Already short on pass-rush talent – Seattle has three sacks in two games despite facing 101 combined dropbacks from Matt Ryan and Cam Newton – the Seahawks lost EDGE Bruce Irvin (ACL) for the season in Week 2. After the Seahawks surrendered Week 1’s QB7 outcome to Ryan and Week 2’s QB2 result to Newton, Dak is primed for another monster game. … Even after Week 3 opponent Seattle defended the run stoutly in its initial two games, Ezekiel Elliott is a no-fear elite RB1 play as arguably the most valuable player in all of fantasy following Christian McCaffrey (high ankle sprain) and Saquon Barkley’s (ACL) injuries. Zeke is on pace for 88 targets, 72 catches, 424 touches, and a career-high 91% playing-time rate. Elliott will be involved in projected shootouts all year, raising his weekly touchdown probability.
Dak’s Weeks 1-2 target distribution: Amari Cooper 23; CeeDee Lamb 15; Dalton Schultz 14; Zeke 11; Michael Gallup 10; Tony Pollard 4; Blake Bell 3; Noah Brown 2. … Underrated throughout re-draft season, Cooper enters Week 3 dominating target (26%) and Air Yards (36%) share in a top-five passing attack. Julian Edelman (8/179/0), Julio Jones (9/157/0), Calvin Ridley (9/130/2), Russell Gage (9/114/0), N’Keal Harry (8/72/0), and Damiere Byrd (6/72/0) all beat box-score expectations against Seattle in Weeks 1-2, setting up Amari for another WR1 week. … Edelman and Gage’s slot production foreshadows another big game for Lamb, who is playing 89% of his snaps inside and will face Seattle without top slot CB Marquise Blair (ACL). Two games into his career, Lamb has earned every-week WR2 treatment. Per Sports Info Solutions, the Seahawks’ defense has coughed up an NFL-high 33 catches and the league’s third most yards per pass attempt (11.0) on throws to slot receivers. … Never mind Schultz’s minimal pass-catching history; following Blake Jarwin’s ACL tear, Schultz is playing 70% of the offensive snaps in one of the league’s highest-volume passing attacks. In Week 3’s highest-totaled game, Schultz is TE1 stream-able even if last week’s comeback-driven production (9/88/1) is an unrealistic benchmark. … Fantasy leaguers may view Gallup as an early bust. Yet his 30% Air Yards share isn’t far off Cooper’s, and Gallup makes for an enticing DFS-tournament play whose ownership will be lowered by recency bias. With Cooper in the No. 1 role and Lamb in the slot, Gallup is Prescott’s top deep threat.
The NFL’s MVP frontrunner two weeks in, Russell Wilson projects to stay piping hot versus a Dallas defense that permitted 8.9 yards per attempt to Jared Goff in Week 1 and Week 2’s QB6 result to Matt Ryan. The Cowboys simply can’t rush the passer, having managed two sacks and seven QB hits against 69 combined Goff and Ryan dropbacks. High-profile signing DE Everson Griffen has been a to-date ghost, while top EDGE Demarcus Lawrence (knee) is in danger of missing Week 3. Wilson is going to go off again. … Still Seattle’s locked-in lead back, Chris Carson out-snapped Carlos Hyde 63% to 24% and out-touched him 20 to 7 in last Sunday night’s win over New England. Almost as much as the Seahawks’ wideouts, Carson has benefited from OC Brian Schottenheimer’s willingness to #LetRussCook with nine targets in two games. Carson’s receiving-TD pace is unsustainable, but his voluminous usage in one of the NFL’s most explosive offenses renders Carson a fringe RB1 play at worst regardless of opponents.
Wilson’s Weeks 1-2 target distribution: Tyler Lockett 16; D.K. Metcalf 14; Carson 9; David Moore 6; Greg Olsen 5; Will Dissly 3; Hyde, Travis Homer, and Freddie Swain 2; Jacob Hollister 1. … Fellow slot WR Russell Gage’s productive Week 2 (6/46/1) combined with Dallas’ loss of slot CB Anthony Brown (ribs, I.R.) positions Lockett for another boom week. Lockett’s early-season eight-target average puts him on track to shatter last year’s career-high 110. Both of Seattle’s top-two receivers are seeing WR1 usage and producing like it. … Proving his matchup-proof scoring ability, Metcalf won last week’s battle with 2019’s Defensive Player of the Year by overpowering Stephon Gilmore on a second-quarter, 54-yard TD bomb. Including last January’s playoffs, Metcalf has 80-plus yards in four of his last five games with four end-zone drips during that span. Fellow perimeter WRs Calvin Ridley (7/109/2) and Robert Woods (6/105/0) have given Dallas early-season fits, while the Cowboys are certain to be without No. 1 CB Chidobe Awuzie (hamstring) this week and may miss No. 2 CB Trevon Diggs (shoulder), too. … Operating as Seattle’s No. 3 receiver, Moore hauled in a highlight-reel second-half 38-yard touchdown in Jason McCourty’s Week 2 coverage and should be rostered in deeper leagues in case Metcalf or Lockett goes down. … Sharing time with Dissly and seeing low target volume, Olsen is a touchdown-or-bust TE2. He went catch-less in Week 2’s win over the Pats.
Score Prediction: Seahawks 30, Cowboys 27
Sunday Night Football
Green Bay @ New Orleans
Team Totals: Saints 27.75, Packers 24.75
Giving touchdown regression an aggressive middle finger, Aaron Jones heads into Sunday night’s game once again leading the league in scores (4) after handling touch counts of 20 and 22 against the Lions and Vikings. The Saints’ defensive front is a different animal, however, having held Bucs and Raiders backs to a combined 54/184/1 (3.41 YPC) rushing line. Although this week’s matchup may curb Jones’ ceiling, his all-purpose usage in a friendly offensive environment keeps Jones among Week 3’s top-five RB1 plays. In addition to TDs, Jones leads the league in rushing yards (234) and red-zone targets (6). … New Orleans’ pass defense hasn’t looked right early on, having surrendered Week 1’s QB9 fantasy result to withering Tom Brady and 284 yards with three touchdown passes to Derek Carr last Monday night. Still, Davante Adams (hamstring) is such a difference maker that his availability or lack thereof will swing Aaron Rodgers’ fantasy outlook from top-10 quarterback play to a fringe QB1 option if Adams sits.
Rodgers’ Weeks 1-2 target distribution: Adams 20; Jones 14; Marquez Valdes-Scantling 13; Allen Lazard 9; Jamaal Williams 4; Robert Tonyan 3; Jace Sternberger, Josiah Deguara, and Tyler Ervin 2. … Adams doesn’t appear especially likely to play, and if he does he will encounter Marshon Lattimore at less than 100%. Fellow No. 1 WRs Mike Evans (1/2/1) and Henry Ruggs (1/4/0) were non-factors in Weeks 1-2 meetings with the Saints. … Valdes-Scantling is next up to draw Lattimore should Adams not play, which would position Lazard as a WR4/flex and one-game DFS sleeper. Fellow slot men Chris Godwin and Hunter Renfrow efficiently combined to catch 9-of-10 targets for 116 yards (11.6 YPA) against New Orleans in the first two games. … Sans Adams, the Packers would presumably resort to more two-tight end sets featuring Tonyan and blocker Marcedes Lewis, and Sternberger to a lesser extent. After a catch-less opener, Tonyan made his Week 2 presence felt on 2/25/1 receiving, and he has played 61% of the Packers’ 2020 offensive snaps. Fellow TEs Darren Waller (12/105/1) and O.J. Howard (4/36/1) each beat expectations in Weeks 1-2 against New Orleans. All told, enemy tight ends have caught 20-of-28 targets (71.4%) for 186 yards and two touchdowns versus Saints DC Dennis Allen’s unit.
Drew Brees’ deep ball has been in decline for years, but he’s never looked as inaccurate as he did in the first two weeks. Even while nursing the league’s lowest passing aDOT, Brees has all too often missed open receivers at their feet and over their heads en route to disappointing weekly outcomes of QB24 (Bucs) and QB22 (Raiders). At least until Michael Thomas (high ankle sprain) gets healthy, Brees won’t be playable outside of two-quarterback leagues. At any time, Sean Payton could ramp up Taysom Hill’s under-center usage at the expense of Brees’ snaps and/or scoring-position role. … The unchallenged focal point of New Orleans’ Thomas-less passing offense, Alvin Kamara leads all NFL backs in targets (17), catches (14), and receiving yards (146), and it isn’t close in any of those categories. As enemy running backs have tagged Green Bay’s soft front for an efficient 38/185/3 (4.87 YPC) rushing line, Kamara also looks set for a season-best game on the ground. … Latavius Murray is playable only on one-game DFS slates after both his snaps (34% to 27%) and touches (15 to 5) dropped from Week 1 to 2.
Brees’ 2020 target distribution: Kamara 16; Jared Cook 12; Tre’Quan Smith and Emmanuel Sanders 8; Deonte Harris 6; Thomas 5; Murray, Ty Montgomery, and Josh Hill 3; Taysom Hill and Adam Trautman 1. … Victimized by numerous errant Brees passes and loaded coverage by the Raiders, Cook salvaged his Week 2 box score with his tenth touchdown over his last 12 games. Still leading all NFL tight ends in target share (37.6%), Cook remains a locked-in, high-ceiling TE1 play. Enemy tight ends have caught a perfect 7-of-7 targets for 101 yards (14.4 YPA) against Green Bay so far. … In Thomas’ Week 2 absence, Smith’s playing time rose from 65% to 88%, he played more in the slot than Sanders did, and Smith easily looked like the Saints’ best wide receiver while Sanders struggled to separate and never looked on the same page as Brees. As his superior slot usage will keep him away from stingy Packers outside CBs Kevin King and Jaire Alexander more than Sanders, Smith is clearly a better WR3/flex play on Sunday night. … Shifty gadget guy Harris remains viable on one-game DFS slates after his snaps hiked from 10% to 52% in Week 2, and he drew a career-high five targets with an additional rushing attempt. Harris correlates positively with the Saints’ D/ST because he doubles as New Orleans’ kick and punt returner.
Score Prediction: Saints 24, Packers 23
Monday Night Football
Kansas City @ Baltimore
Team Totals: Ravens 28.5, Chiefs 25
Kansas City and Baltimore have met twice over the past two years, playing to high-scoring results of 27-24 and 33-28 in twin Chiefs victories; Patrick Mahomes went a combined 62-of-90 passing (69%) for 751 yards (8.3 YPA) and a 5:1 TD-to-INT ratio against the Ravens. Mahomes’ career TD Rate climbs from 6.4% at home to 7.3% on the road, and his average passing yards jump from 287.1 at Arrowhead to 312.2 in away games. Visiting Baltimore, Mahomes is a no-brainer top-five QB1 play in Week 3’s third highest-totaled affair. … With Darrel Williams (ankle) sidelined, Clyde Edwards-Helaire should have Kansas City’s backfield mostly to himself after CEH drew a whopping eight Week 2 targets and held a 71.4% carry share lead over Darwin Thompson. Edwards-Helaire had another 30-yard catch called back against the Chargers. If Edwards-Helaire does struggle versus Baltimore like David Johnson did last week, the Chiefs’ first-round pick will be one of season-long fantasy’s most obvious buy-low targets. Edwards-Helaire’s job security is in zero doubt in an offense that will only improve over the course of the year.
Mahomes’ Weeks 1-2 target distribution: Travis Kelce 20; Tyreek Hill 17; Sammy Watkins 12; CEH and Demarcus Robinson 10; Mecole Hardman 4; Williams 3; Thompson 1. … Kelce catches the top matchup in Kansas City’s Week 3 pass-catcher corps; the Chiefs’ tight end dropped stat lines of 7/77/1 and 7/89/0 on Baltimore in these teams’ last two meetings, while enemy tight ends have tagged the Ravens for 15 catches, 148 yards, and two touchdowns on 19 targets in 2020. … Hill banked 139 yards on eight grabs in his last date with Baltimore. This year’s Ravens have defended deep threats stoutly, however, erasing Odell Beckham (3/22/0) in Week 1 and Will Fuller (0/0) in Week 2. Hill is a boom-bust WR1 play. … A somewhat predictable Week 2 dud following his opening night eruption, Watkins managed a 5/64/0 stat line against Baltimore in last year’s meeting. He’s a WR4/flex option in Monday night’s imposing draw. Through two games, just one enemy wide receiver has topped 61 yards against the Ravens. … Playable only on one-game DFS slates, Robinson has gone 19 straight games without clearing 60 yards. … The Chiefs’ return specialist and No. 4 wideout, Hardman has just 166 receiving yards over his last 11 games.
Lamar Jackson produced below expectation in Baltimore’s last two meetings with K.C., managing weekly fantasy finishes of QB13 (2018) and QB10 (2019). Yet Jackson’s box-score outlook is more favorable this year after the Chiefs conceded top-12 fantasy outcomes to Deshaun Watson and Justin Herbert in their first two games. In a likely shootout where Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown are positioned for success, Jackson is a top-two Week 3 quarterback start. … Kansas City’s run defense looks leaky again after Texans and Chargers backs scorched DC Steve Spagnuolo’s unit for a combined 55/248/1 (4.51 YPC) rushing line in Weeks 1-2. Only four NFL defenses have permitted more receiving yards to enemy running backs (136). Yet Baltimore’s three-man RBBC renders each member a high-risk RB2/flex option. Mark Ingram’s playing-time clip stands at 39% following consecutive blowout wins. J.K. Dobbins’ is 35%. Fueled by garbage-time usage, Gus Edwards has played 28% of the Ravens’ offensive downs. If forced to rank them, I’d place Ingram first, Dobbins second, and Edwards third in terms of fantasy playability.
Jackson’s Weeks 1-2 target distribution: Marquise Brown 12; Mark Andrews and Miles Boykin 9; Willie Snead 6; Nick Boyle 4; Ingram 3; Devin Duvernay 2; Dobbins 1. … His snaps up from 51% last year to 65% this season, Brown leads Baltimore in targets and Air Yards share (39%). Hollywood is a no-brainer WR2 with WR1 upside against the Chiefs’ backend, which couldn’t handle fellow speedster Will Fuller (8/112/0) on opening night. … Enemy tight ends have caught 10-of-12 targets for 141 yards (11.8 YPA) and a touchdown against K.C. Andrews’ 26.6% Air Yards share ranks fifth among tight ends, while his three red-zone targets are tied for fourth. … Boykin is a green-light one-game DFS-slate play after his snaps rose from 68% in Week 1 to 74% in Week 2, confirming Boykin’s role as Baltimore’s No. 2 wideout. Boykin’s 12.7% Air Yards share ranks third on the team. … Snead predictably followed up his big Week 1 with a quiet Week 2 but is also playable on one-game DFS slates after fellow slot men Keenan Allen (7/96/0) and Jarvis Landry (5/61/0) banked usable Weeks 1-2 box-score results against Kansas City.
Score Prediction: Ravens 30, Chiefs 27