Welcome to our weekly fantasy rankings! Here we review each game for the week, outline possible starters and streamers, and give you the low-down to make your fantasy life easier. Along with our outstanding football minds, we’ve included the projected weather forecast for the game.
With that, let’s dive in!
Thursday Night Football (NFL Network)
Carolina Panthers (2-0) @ Houston Texans (1-1)
Weather forecast: Indoors
The Panthers have allowed just 21 points all season through two weeks, and most recently held the New Orleans Saints to 111 yards passing while intercepting QB Jameis Winston twice. Carolina is currently No. 1 against the run and No. 1 against the pass.
This week with QB Tyrod Taylor out due to injury for the Texans, I would not expect great production out of any of the Texans skill position players.
WR Brandin Cooks is probably the only weekly starter the Texans have, and with rookie QB Davis Mills getting the start, use Cooks at your own risk.
On the other side, I think you can use all of your Panthers this week.
Houston gave up three touchdowns on the ground to Cleveland last week, so RB Christian McCaffrey is, of course, in your lineups.
WR D.J. Moore and WR Robby Anderson are entrenched as the starters in two-receiver sets, playing 88 percent and 74 percent of snaps respectively, and WR Terrace Marshall appearing on the field for 51 percent of snaps. All three are startable this week against that Texans defense that has allowed 26 points per game so far this season and ranked 30th in total defense in 2020.
QB Sam Darnold is averaging almost 300 yards passing and two touchdowns per game thus far in 2021, and I see that productive trend continuing against the Texans this week. I don’t know if the “real” Sam Darnold is a 4500/32 quarterback as his current pace suggests, but for Week 3, you can feel confident with him in your lineups.
- RB Christian McCaffrey
- WR D.J. Moore
- QB Sam Darnold
- WR Robby Anderson
- WR Terrace Marshall
- WR Brandin Cooks
- RB Chuba Hubbard
- TE Logan Thomas
- QB Davis Mills
- RB Mark Ingram
- RB Phillip Lindsey
- RB David Johnson
- WR Nico Collins
Sunday Noon Games
Washington Football Team (1-1) @ Buffalo Bills (1-1) (FOX)
Weather forecast: Rainy, windy, and a bit chilly. High of 63° with 11mph winds.
The big story regarding the Football Team is RB Antonio Gibson’s passing game usage in Week 2, when RB J.D. McKissic dominated passing game work against the Giants.
It has become clear that Gibson is the lead ball carrier for the Football Team. He’s been on the field for 65 percent and 61 percent of snaps in Week 1 and Week 2, respectively.
But what has Gibson-managers so worried is the passing game usage. McKissic — who did not feature much in Week 1 — touched the ball nine times (including six targets) for 93 total yards and a touchdown and was on the field 44 percent of the time, mostly on third down and in the two-minute offense. Gibson, a former receiver in college, was thought to be taking over that pass-catching role this season, and so far, it appears as though that will not happen.
The Bills, who have kept the Pittsburgh and Miami ground games in check so far this season, represent a tough matchup for Gibson. If the Bills get their own passing game going and QB Taylor Heinicke cannot keep up, the game script could quickly turn against Gibson in favor of McKissic.
At wide receiver, you should start WR Terry McLaurin. He is very good. Nothing else needs to be said.
The idea of starting TE Logan Thomas is about as exciting as waiting in line at the DMV, but with his usage, Thomas is actually probably as startable as many of the non-elite tight ends out there. Thomas has played 100 percent of the Football Team’s snaps this season and saw seven targets last week, so there’s worse options.
On the Buffalo side, you aren’t benching QB Josh Allen or WR Stefon Diggs regardless of opponent, but I’m not very excited about anyone else. Washington allowed the second-fewest touchdown passes in the NFL in 2020, and so it wouldn’t be surprising to see a lower scoring affair on Sunday.
RB Zack Moss made headlines with two touchdowns in his return in Week 2 after being a healthy scratch in Week 1, but Moss was still out-snapped by RB Devin Singletary 43-18 last week. Both Bills running backs are sitting on my bench this week.
- QB Josh Allen
- WR Stefon Diggs
- WR Terry McLaurin
- TE Logan Thomas
- RB Antonio Gibson
- RB J.D. McKissic
- WR Cole Beasley
- QB Taylor Heinicke
- WR Dyami Brown
- WR Curtis Samuel
- RB Devin Singletary
- RB Zack Moss
- WR Gabriel Davis
- WR Emmanuel Sanders
- TE Dawson Knox
Los Angeles Chargers (1-1) @ Kansas City Chiefs (1-1) (CBS)
Weather forecast: Windy and warm. High of 89° with 11mph winds.
The Chargers bring their fourth-ranked passing defense into Arrowhead to battle the Chiefs second ranked passing offense. In a matchup of strengths Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce should prevail and are all high quality starts.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire has had a disappointing year, averaging 3.3ypc with only 208 scrimmage yards, 0 touchdowns, and a lost fumble in two games. Despite that, he should find running room against a defense that surrendered 198 rushing yards to the Cowboys last week.
To the Chargers offense. Justin Herbert, Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Austin Ekeler should feast on the league’s worst defense. Start all of them with confidence.
The Chiefs rushing defense has allowed 404 yards and 7 touchdowns on the ground this year. While Rountree had more snaps week 1, Jackson was the primary backup last week. I think in a game like this, Jackson would be trusted more, which means Justin Jackson could be a low-end flex play this week.
In a game that projects to be a shootout fantasy managers should expect to reap the rewards.
- QB Patrick Mahomes
- QB Justin Herbert
- RB Austin Ekeler
- WR Tyreek Hill
- WR Keenan Allen
- WR Mike Williams
- TE Travis Kelce
- RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire
- RB Justin Jackson
- WR Mecole Hardman
- WR Jalen Guyon
- TE Jared Cook
- WR Josh Palmer
- WR Demarcus Robinson
- WR Byron Pringle
- RB Larry Rountree
Arizona Cardinals (2-0) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2) (FOX)
Weather forecast: Cloudy with a high of 81° and 4mph winds.
Kyler Murray has emerged as the top fantasy QB in the league so far this season. Expect him to have another electric performance against the lowly Jaguars.
Last week Jacksonville surrendered nine receptions for 159 yards receiving to Courtland Sutton, DeAndre Hopkins could have an equally impressive showing this week. Christian Kirk and Rondale Moore should see their fair share of opportunities as well.
Chase Edmonds should be heavily involved in a game that is likely to get out of hand before halftime. Averaging 5.45 yards per carry he should see his heaviest workload of the season.
Trevor Lawrence will be a low end QB2 by virtue of volume. I believe last week’s performance was more indicative of what to expect than his first week’s performance when he had 51 passing attempts.
With most teams I would expect them to rush more to slow the game down but Meyer’s hubris and the Jaguars 32 rushing attempts on the year give me little faith that will be the case. James Robinson should have low-end double digit touches and can be used as a low-end flex play.
Marvin Jones is the only Jaguars’ player I would deploy with confidence. After last week’s 11 target performance he has quickly cemented himself as Lawrence’s go to receiver.
DJ Chark and Laviska Shenault are both low floor high ceiling options in this offense and are dicey options to use.
- QB Kyler Murray
- WR DeAndre Hopkins
- RB Chase Edmonds
- WR Christian Kirk
- WR Rondale Moore
- WR Marvin Jones
- QB Trevor Lawrence
- RB James Robinson
- WR D.J. Chark
- WR Laviska Shenault
- TE Maxx Williams
- RB James Conner
Indianapolis Colts (0-2) @ Tennessee Titans (1-1) (CBS)
Weather forecast: Partly cloudy, high of 79° with 5mph winds.
Coming into this game as a Carson Wentz owner, you’ve got to be bummed about the injury. Tennessee is currently sitting 28th in pass defense on the year, giving up an average of 300 yards and a 125.9 QBR to opposing QBs, not to mention 34 pts per game given up. This could have been a juicy matchup, though with both ankles now appearing to be on-the-fritz, the team will likely turn to Jacob Eason (2-5 25yds 1int), who is much less enticing.
The receivers all take a hit as well with Eason in, and though Zach Pascal has 3tds on the year already, he’s averaging that on 4.5 rec and 40.5 yards. Pittman is much more likely to take advantage, but it’s relying on an untested Quarterback. Keep Pittman in your lineup given the Tennessee defense, but understand the risks in doing so.
Jonathan Taylor hasn’t exactly been the runner we were all hoping to see, averaging only 53.5 yards rushing so far. He does have 8 targets on the year though, and with his potential he’s still an expected RB2 play at worst.
Jack Doyle had a good game last week garnering 8 targets. He started to show chemistry with Wentz, but assuming Wentz is out of commission – and considering the yardage Tennessee is giving up is primarily to WRs – it’s best to temper your expectations for Doyle this week.
Indy isn’t exactly a prime defense either though, having given up 6 tds through the air this year, two 100+ yard games to receivers, and a 132 QBR average. I expect Tannehill, Brown, and Julio to be able to take advantage through the air.
While Tannehill has yet to show a big game, I would expect this to be his best of the season. If he’s your top guy, keep him plugged in as he should put up QB1 numbers.
In true Derrick Henry fashion, he dominated the second half. Even though signs indicate this may be a game dominated by the air, Henry is simply too good to take out of your lineup, or to expect anything less than RB1 numbers.
- RB Derrick Henry
- QB Ryan Tannehill
- WR Julio Jones
- WR A.J. Brown
- QB Carson Wentz (IF he plays)
- WR Michael Pittman
- WR Zach Pascal
- RB Jonathan Taylor
- RB Nyheim Hines (PPR)
- TE Jack Doyle
- QB Jacob Eason
- WR Parris Campbell
- TE Mo Alie-Cox
- RB Marlon Mack
- WR Chester Rogers
- All Titans TEs
Chicago Bears (1-1) @ Cleveland Browns (1-1) (FOX)
Weather forecast: Cloudy and windy. High of 69° with 12mph winds.
We finally get to see what almost all of us have been waiting for, the debut of Justin Fields. Fields is going up against a suspect Browns passing defense that allowed the pedestrian combination of Tyrod Taylor and Davis Mills to throw for 18 completions on 29 attempts, 227 yards passing and 2 touchdowns last week. Taylor also added a 15 yard run for a touchdown. Fields’ superior talent and running ability should give managers confidence to start him this week.
David Montgomery will be leaned on this week with Fields getting his first start. 25 touches is well within the realm of possibilities. Montgomery could also see a heavier than usual workload in the passing game.
Allen Robinson is the best wide receiver in this game and should see far more targets than his 4 he had last week. Darnell Mooney will be involved this week but I am not yet confident in Fields’ ability to go through read progressions which could negatively impact Mooney.
Cole Kmet has clearly overtaken Jimmy Graham but coupled with his disappearing act last week and a new quarterback I would not play him.
Baker Mayfield has had a rough start to the season and that will continue in week three. With Jarvis Landry out and Odell Beckham Jr.’s status still in question the Brown’s receiving options are severely depleted. Mayfield is a low-end QB2 this week.
Nick Chubb is a must start this week. Averaging 89 yards rushing per game with three rushing touchdowns in the season. The lack of receiving options should see Chubb get a heavy workload.
Despite only having four receptions on the year so far Kareem Hunt should be heavily involved in the passing game this week. With few established options Hunt may be split wide in some instances. Kareem should see 12 or more touches this game as he should also get some carries in what should be an extremely run heavy game script.
I do not trust any of the Browns wide receivers this week. The inconsistency in play and uncertainty for Odell means I am leaving all of them on the bench. Austin Hooper should be heavily targeted this week and I would not be shocked to see him lead the Browns in targets and yards.
- RB Nick Chubb
- RB David Montgomery
- QB Justin Fields
- RB Kareem Hunt
- WR Allen Robinson
- QB Baker Mayfield
- WR Darnell Mooney
- TE Austin Hooper
- RB Demetric Felton
- WR Donovan Peoples-Jones
- WR Odell Beckham Jr
- TE Cole Kmet
New Orleans Saints (1-1) @ New England Patriots (1-1) (FOX)
Weather forecast: Near perfect. High of 75°, 7mph winds.
QB Jameis Winston, fresh off a two-interception, 111-yard performance last week, now has to face Bill Belichick’s defense on the road. I am sitting Winston and the receivers in this one. The offense is going to have to revolve around this next guy…
RB Alvin Kamara, currently RB28, was woeful on the ground last week, rushing for five yards on eight carries. He did add four catches on six targets for 25 yards, but Week 2 was a week to forget for Kamara. He looks to bounce back against a Patriots run defense that was 26th in the league last season, and who has already given up decent stat-lines to Myles Gaskin and Michael Carter the past two weeks.
WR Marquez Callaway has been horrid, registering two catches for eight yards last week, while leading all Saints receivers in snaps both weeks. The usage is encouraging, but I think he needs to be on the bench until he proves he can produce.
For the Patriots, QB Mac Jones has been conservative both weeks, throwing just a single touchdown but with no interceptions and tons of short pass attempts. He belongs on the bench until further notice.
WR Jakobi Meyers leads the Patriots receivers in snaps and routes run, so he’s a high-floor start most weeks even if his ceiling is capped by Jones’ conservative (thus far) approach.
At tight end, it is interesting that while both TE Hunter Henry and TE Jonnu Smith played almost equal snaps in Week 1, Henry significantly out-snapped Smith in Week 2, 48-29. It did not translate into more production for Henry, though, and I’m probably sitting both until one or the other establishes himself as the top guy, something that might not ever happen this season at all.
On the ground, it remains the RB Damien Harris and RB James White duo. Both are passable starts, but both are extremely reliant on game script in terms of production.
- RB Alvin Kamara
- RB Damien Harris
- WR Jakobi Meyers
- RB James White
- WR Nelson Agholor
- QB Jameis Winston
- RB Tony Jones
- WR Marquez Callway
- WR Deonte Harris
- TE Adam Trautman
- QB Mac Jones
- TE Jonnu Smith
- TE Hunter Henry
Cincinnati Bengals (1-1) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) (CBS)
Weather forecast: Partly cloudy with a high of 68° and 7mph winds.
QB Joe Burrow has been good, not great in both games so far this year, and he’s going up against the third-ranked passing defense in the league in 2020. If you have a better option, you could leave Burrow on the bench.
RB Joe Mixon remains a high-volume player, carrying 20 times for 69 yards last week. Despite Pittsburgh’s tough defense, that kind of usage warrants a starting grade for Mixon, who rarely cedes snaps to RB Samaje Perine.
At receiver, WR Ja’Marr Chase, WR Tee Higgins and WR Tyler Boyd all are playing the majority of the time with all three registering at least 87 percent snap rates both weeks. The targets over two games among the three are very close as well: 15 for Higgins, 13 for Boyd, 11 for Chase. I doubt that all three have great games on Sunday, but all three represent decent starts.
On the Steelers’ side, QB Ben Roethlisberger has been mediocre at best, throwing a single touchdown in each contest so far this season. He belongs on your bench.
RB Najee Harris has played on 100 percent and 95 percent of snaps through two weeks, and the Steelers have clearly adjusted their approach from last year when they led the league in pass attempts. Harris has logged 32 so far this season. I expect that to continue this week and for Harris to find the endzone at least once. The Bengals run defense has not been bad so far this season, as they’ve held RB Dalvin Cook and RB David Montgomery to respectable lines both weeks, but they were 29th against the run in 2020, and I predict Harris has his breakout game this week.
Out wide, WR Diontae Johnson leads the Steelers in targets despite WR Juju Smith-Schuster out-snapping him slightly both weeks. Johnson is the only Steelers receiver I’d feel confident in starting this week, although I would not be surprised by a few big plays this week by WR Chase Claypool.
Someone to watch is rookie TE Pat Freiermuth. He has out-snapped fellow TE Eric Ebron both weeks, and has five receptions so far this season to Ebron’s one. Regardless, you’re not starting a Steelers tight end this week until we see that passing game get back on track.
- RB Joe Mixon
- WR Ja’Marr Chase
- WR Tee Higgins
- WR Tyler Boyd
- RB Najee Harris
- RB Diontae Johnson
- QB Joe Burrow
- WR Chase Claypool
- WR Juju Smith-Schuster
- QB Ben Roethlisberger
- TE Eric Ebron
- TE Pat Freiermuth
Atlanta Falcons (0-2) @ New York Giants (0-2) (FOX)
Weather forecast: Near perfect. High of 73° with 7mph winds.
Both teams enter Sunday’s game 0-2, and desperate to turn things around.
For the Giants, QB Daniel Jones played well last week, especially in terms of fantasy, as his 122 rushing yards is third in the league for quarterbacks, behind only QB Lamar Jackson and QB Jalen Hurts. Jones’ passing needs to improve in real life for the Giants to win games, but for fantasy, Jones is currently QB5. You can keep him in your lineups this week against Atlanta, last season’s 32nd-ranked pass defense.
WR Sterling Shepard has thus far established himself as New York’s leading receiver over WR Kenny Golladay in terms of snaps and routes run. Shepard has 19 targets and 16 catches over the first two weeks. He is a very good start this week.
I think you can start Golladay as well against Atlanta. He’s now several weeks removed from the hamstring injury, and he saw eight targets last week against the Football Team.
I’m fine if you want to start RB Saquon Barkley this week as well, despite the narrative that he’s broken this season. After only being on the field for less than half of the team’s offensive snaps in Week 1, that snap count went up to 84 percent in Week 2. Game script and a tough Washington defense kept Barkley’s production in check in Week 2, but the usage was encouraging. The Falcons are already near the bottom of the league in many defensive categories, so this represents a “get right” game for Barkley.
For Atlanta, QB Matt Ryan has thrown more interceptions than touchdown passes so far this season as the Falcons are 0-2 early. I think Ryan has a good chance to bounce back against a pass defense that is currently sitting 25th in the league, but I would not blame you if you went with another option this week, especially if there is some weather in this game.
RB Mike Davis has been disappointing on the ground, rushing for just 87 yards combined this season, but his usage in the passing game is encouraging as he already has 13 targets this season. The Giants gave up the third-most targets to running backs in 2020, and both Denver and Washington had success throwing to their backs against New York this season. Davis isn’t a great start, but I’d probably deploy him this week. WR/RB Cordarrelle Patterson had a big week last week, but I doubt he shows that kind of production consistently. Leave him on your bench until he does.
WR Calvin Ridley and TE Kyle Pitts are probably the only Falcon pass-catchers you are considering unless you’re desperate, and the Giants are a good matchup for both. Start both this week against a Giants defense that allowed 22 receptions combined to WR Terry McLaurin and WR Adam Humphries last week.
- QB Daniel Jones
- RB Saquon Barkley
- WR Calvin Ridley
- TE Kyle Pitts
- WR Sterling Shepard
- WR Kenny Golladay
- QB Matt Ryan
- RB Mike Davis
- RB Devontae Booker
- TE Evan Engram
- WR Darius Slayton
- WR Russell Gage
Baltimore Ravens (1-1) @ Detroit Lions (0-2) (CBS)
Weather forecast: Indoors
The lowly Lions put up a good fight early in the game last week against Green Bay, but in the end, the Packers’ quality made all of the difference as RB Aaron Jones won matchups all over the fantasy football world with a memorable five touchdown performance.
Somewhat surprisingly though, QB Jared Goff is currently QB5 in fantasy. The Ravens have given up a combined 778 yards passing so far this season, most in the NFL. With that in mind, I think you can do worse than Goff this week.
Another surprising statistic out of Detroit is that both RB D’Andre Swift and RB Jamaal Williams are both Top 15 running backs so far this season. Swift is questionable again this week at the time this article is being published, but if he is available, he is a good start as well. I expect him to be heavily involved in the passing game as Head Coach Dan Campbell has said he wants to get the ball into his hands more often.
“Maybe we’ve got to find more plays for Swifty, we’ve got to find more plays for Hock,” Campbell said.
I’d sit Williams until further notice. He had a big Week 1 with eight catches on nine targets and a rushing touchdown, but his usage was way down this past week. He has played on only 35 percent and 39 percent of snaps in the first games. Swift is the Lions running back to own.
None of the Lions wide receivers should be in your lineup until we learn which of them can be trusted. In Week 1, it was WR Kalif Raymond and WR Amon-Ra St. Brown who led the team in snaps. In Week 2, WR Quintez Cephus played 89 percent of the snaps, most on the team, with Raymond and WR Trinity Benson sprinkling in as well. Cephus had a big game last week, but I’m still staying away from all of these receivers until we see a more concrete pecking order take shape.
TE T.J. Hockenson remains a must-start, and I even predict he makes a case to be the TE1 in dynasty by the end of the season. Go buy Hockenson if you can. He has 16 grabs on 20 targets with a touchdown in both games already this season.
For the Ravens, QB Lamar Jackson remains an elite start regardless of the opponent because of his rushing ability. Nothing new here. He’s already got 193 yards and two scores on the ground this season. Start him every week.
RB Ty’Son Williams remains the “lead back” in Baltimore, garnering 51 percent and 49 percent of the snaps over the first two games, out-snapping RB Latavius Murray in both games (72-48 total). I’d start Williams this week, and maybe Murray too if you need him, especially if you expect Baltimore to be in control of this game in real life.
WR Marquise Brown has certainly taken advantage of the absence of WR Rashod Bateman, as Brown already has 16 targets on the season and leads the team in routes run. Interestingly however, WR Sammy Watkins has outsnapped Brown 126-102. Start Brown. Bench Watkins. Of course, start TE Mark Andrews.
- QB Lamar Jackson
- TE Mark Andrews
- TE T.J. Hockenson
- RB Ty’Son Williams
- WR Marquise Brown
- QB Jared Goff
- RB D’Andre Swift
- RB Latavius Murray
- WR Sammy Watkins
- RB Jamaal Williams
- All Lions WRs
Sunday Late Afternoon Games
New York Jets (0-2) @ Denver Broncos (2-0) (CBS)
Weather forecast: Warm and partly cloudy. High of 88° with 5mph winds.
QB Zach Wilson had a horrific Week 2, throwing four interceptions in a bad loss to New England. Wilson needs to be on your bench unless you play in a very deep Superflex league, and his play has capped the upside of all the Jets receivers.
WR Braxton Berrios had 11 targets last week, but that was partly due to Wilson not being able to find his targets down the field on a consistent basis. The Broncos have a strong defense, and are currently Top 5 against the pass so far in 2021, so unless you need them, bench all of your Jets this week.
RB Michael Carter did finally offer a slight flicker of hope regarding the Jets’ backfield. After only touching the ball five times in Week 1, Carter was more involved last week, carrying the ball 11 times and receiving three targets while tying for the team lead in RB snaps with RB Ty Johnson. You still don’t want to start any of the Jets against Denver, but for future weeks, it will be interesting to keep an eye on the backfield split moving forward.
For Denver, let’s take a moment to give some props to QB Teddy Bridgewater. I’ve been a big critic of his dating back to his Minnesota days, but he has been very good so far this season both in real life (Denver is 2-0) and in fantasy with almost 600 yards passing and four passing scores against zero interceptions so far this season. There are worse starting options this week than Teddy.
Also, how about we congratulate WR Courtland Sutton on finally returning to relevance? After a poor Week 1, Sutton exploded back onto the scene with a nine-catch, 159 yard performance on 12 targets. I don’t want to overreact to one good game, but against the Jets, I think you can trot Sutton back out there in your lineups this week.
WR Tim Patrick also has been solid since the injury of WR Jerry Jeudy, logging a touchdown in both games so far this year. WR K.J. Hamler, along with Patrick and Sutton, make up the trio that is predominantly on the field for Denver with all three logging at least 70 percent of snaps last week. If you are desperate for a receiver, I’m fine with playing any of the three Broncos this week, although Sutton gives me the most confidence.
At running back, the 50/50(ish) split continues between RB Melvin Gordon and rookie RB Javonte Williams. Both split exactly down the middle with 33 snaps each in Week 1, but Gordon took 60 percent of the snaps last week, out-snapping Williams 41-28. I wouldn’t read too much into that as game script likely had everything to do with that. Zero-RB players might consider starting either Gordon or Williams this week as Denver will likely have opportunities to run the ball against New York.
- WR Courtland Sutton
- TE Noah Fant
- QB Teddy Bridgewater
- RB Melvin Gordon
- RB Javonte Williams
- WR Tim Patrick
- WR K.J. Hamler
- QB Zach Wilson
- RB Tevin Coleman
- RB Michael Carter
- RB Ty Johnson
- WR Elijah Moore
- WR Corey Davis
- WR Jamison Crowder
- TE Tyler Kroft
Miami Dolphins (1-1) @ Las Vegas Raiders (2-0) (CBS)
Weather forecast: Indoors
Don’t look now, but QB Derek Carr is a Top 10 fantasy quarterback right now and leads the NFL in passing yards. You can start Carr again this week against the Dolphins, who are a bottom-12 passing defense so far this season.
The Dolphins allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to tight ends in 2020, and have largely bottled up the tight ends they’ve played against this year, but you obviously are never going to bench TE Darren Waller.
WR Henry Ruggs had a good game in Week 2, going for five catches for 113 yards and a touchdown. We should expect some big games from the speedy Ruggs, but like teammate WR Bryan Edwards, they are just going to be super inconsistent all season because of the presence of Waller hogging targets and the big-play tendencies both Ruggs and Edwards possess.
RB Josh Jacobs did not practice again Wednesday, and Head Coach Jon Gruden deemed Jacobs “very questionable” for this week. Even if he is active on Sunday, I’d probably want to have another option available. Interestingly, without Jacobs last week, RB Kenyan Drake did not see an increased role in terms of production. RB Peyton Barber came in and handled 13 carries right off the bat. None of these Raiders backs make good starts this week.
For Miami, QB Tua Tagovailoa is obviously out, so that caps this Dolphins passing offense with QB Jacoby Brissett under center.
The running back snap share was undoubtedly affected by game script last week. With Miami losing big to Buffalo, RB Malcolm Brown only logged nine snaps (12 percent) in Week 2 as opposed to 16 snaps (30 percent) the previous week. I think this will continue depending on how the games are going week to week. RB Myles Gaskin is still the “lead” back, out-snapping RB Salvon Ahmed 45-23 last week. Unfortunately for Gaskin, that usage hasn’t translated to big fantasy production, as he’s averaging just seven carries for 37 yards on the ground so far this season.
WR Jaylen Waddle might be the only startable Dolphin this week. His ability to catch those short to intermediate Brissett passes and use his speed and athleticism to create yardage might be what Miami has to rely on with Tua out and WR Will Fuller only resuming practice this week.
TE Mike Gesicki had a mini-bounce back week after not catching a pass in Week 1. Gesicki was targeted six times, catching three of them for 41 yards. More encouraging was that he reversed the snap share between him and TE Durham Smythe in Week 2. After being out-snapped by Smythe 38-21 two weeks ago, Gesicki took 47 snaps last week to Smythe’s 22. Again, game script had a lot to do with that with Miami needing to throw much more last week, but it’s good to Gesicki on the field more regardless.
- TE Darren Waller
- QB Derek Carr
- WR Bryan Edwards
- WR Henry Ruggs
- RB Myles Gaskin
- WR Jaylen Waddle
- TE Mike Gesicki
- RB Kenyan Drake
- RB Josh Jacobs
- QB Jacoby Brissett
- RB Malcolm Brown
- RB Salvon Ahmed
- WR Will Fuller
- WR Davante Parker
Seattle Seahawks (1-1) @ Minnesota Vikings (0-2) (FOX)
Weather forecast: Cloudy. High of 68° with 3mph winds.
After making QB Kyler Murray look like a god last weekend, QB Russell Wilson has to be licking his chops. Minnesota gave up 371 passing yards last week, and are bottom-seven in the league in that category so far this season, and that’s after ranking 25th in the league against the pass in 2020.
Start WR Tyler Lockett, and start WR D.K. Metcalf, who feasted on the Vikings secondary last season to the tune of 93 yards and touchdowns on 11 targets.
RB Chris Carson got into the endzone twice last week, but his overall production (13 carries for 31 yards and no targets in the passing game) was a little disappointing. I expect Carson to bounce back this week as he loves playing the Vikings; he has had at least 75 yards and a touchdown against Minnesota in three consecutive seasons.
On the Minnesota side, we start with RB Dalvin Cook. He’s a must-start every week with 50 touches so far this season and 100 yards in both games.
You’re starting WR Adam Thielen and WR Justin Jefferson this week like every week. Both are being heavily targeted as expected (17 for Thielen, 19 for Jefferson). What has not been expected, however, is the emergence of WR K.J. Osborn. Osborn, himself, has 15 targets over two games and leads the Vikings in receiving yards and yards per route-run. This is a predominantly three-wide receiver offense, especially with TE Irv Smith out for the season, and so while I don’t expect Osborn to be a star, I think it’s reasonable to expect Osborn to keep getting chances this season.
QB Kirk Cousins, perpetually maligned by the fans and Head Coach Mike Zimmer alike for some of his real-life shortcomings, has been a Top 10 fantasy quarterback through two weeks. He finished 2020 as QB11 as well, so perhaps it’s time the fantasy community started putting some respect to Cousins’ name. He already has over 600 total yards and five touchdowns in two games and has a great trio of receivers and one of the best dual-threat RBs in the game. Get him into your lineups, especially with Seattle coming off a game where they gave up 347 passing yards to QB Ryan Tannehill last week.
- QB Russell Wilson
- WR Tyler Lockett
- WR D.K. Metcalf
- RB Dalvin Cook
- RB Chris Carson
- QB Kirk Cousins
- WR Adam Thielen
- WR Justin Jefferson
- TE Gerald Everett
- WR K.J. Osborn
- TE Will Dissly
- RB Alex Collins
- WR Dwayne Eskridge
- RB Alexander Mattison
- TE Tyler Conklin
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0) @ Los Angeles Rams (2-0) (FOX)
Weather forecast: Warm, windy, and clear. High of 87° with 11mph winds.
What a matchup this will be from a pure football-watching standpoint. Two Super Bowl contenders going at it.
QB Tom Brady looks poised to threaten the season-long passing records set by Peyton Manning a few years back. He’s got over 650 passing yards and nine touchdowns already. He is obviously in your lineups this week.
Interestingly, Brady is just 499 passing yards away from breaking the all-time passing yards record (currently held by Drew Brees). Brady is on pace to break that record in two weeks… against New England in Week 4 at Foxborough. Delicious.
The Rams are a Top 12 defense this season (and the No. 1 overall defense last season), and so it’s possible the Bucs aren’t going to coast on offense like they have thus far, but still, Brady and all three receivers probably need to stay in your lineups.
WR Chris Godwin and WR Mike Evans continue to dominate snaps as the “starters” in two-wide sets with WR Antonio Brown playing behind them. Brown was down to 44 percent snap share in Week 2. Those panicking over Evans in Week 1 were premature based on usage anyway. All three will be involved to varying degrees week-to-week. Godwin and Evans are every-week starts, while Brown is someone you can get into your lineups when the matchup seems good. I like Brown this week with it being likely that CB Jalen Ramsey travels with either Godwin or Evans all night.
At running back, it feels like RB Leonard Fournette has taken control of the backfield. Fournette has led the backfield in snaps both weeks. He’s the only Tampa RB I’d consider this week even though RB Giovanni Bernard finally got more snaps last week. I expect this to be a game where Brady throws plenty, but I don’t trust Gio yet.
For the Rams, it’s not all that complicated. Start the quarterback and pass catchers, but leave the runners on the bench against Tampa Bay’s vaunted run defense (allowing just 57 yards rushing per game). So far this season, only the Carolina Panthers have allowed fewer rushing yards. Don’t forget, Tampa Bay was also the No. 1 rush defense in the entire league in 2020 as well. Darrell Henderson and Sony Michel can sit this week.
As good as Tampa’s run defense has been, its passing defense has been that bad. Currently they sit ranked 30th against the pass this season after finishing 21st against the pass last season. QB Matthew Stafford and WR Cooper Kupp are great starts this week, while WR Robert Woods and TE Tyler Higbee probably should be in your lineup as well for what is likely to be a shootout on Sunday.
- QB Tom Brady
- QB Matthew Stafford
- WR Cooper Kupp
- WR Mike Evans
- WR Chris Godwin
- TE Rob Gronkowski
- RB Leonard Fournette
- WR Antonio Brown
- WR Robert Woods
- TE Tyler Higbee
- TE O.J. Howard
- WR Scotty Miller
- RB Ronald Jones
- RB Gio Bernard
- RB Darrell Henderson
- WR Van Jefferson
- WR Desean Jackson
- WR Tutu Atwell
Sunday Night Football (NBC)
Green Bay Packers (1-1) @ San Francisco 49ers (2-0)
Weather forecast: Clear, high of 62° with 6mph winds.
I’d trust road-side sashimi more than I trust Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers when it comes to fantasy football and, specifically, running backs.
RB Elijah Mitchell did not practice Wednesday due to a shoulder injury, but Shanahan told David Lombardi of The Athletic that Mitchell “has a chance to go on Sunday.” RB Trey Sermon is in the concussion protocol after getting hurt last Sunday. Sermon was a limited participant in practice Wednesday. RB JaMychal Hasty is out with a high-ankle sprain, and of course, RB Raheem Mostert is out with a knee injury. RB Trenton Cannon and RB Jacques Patrick are the only other backs on San Fran’s roster, so in short, this situation is murky at best this week. Playing the Sunday night game complicates matters as well if Mitchell is still legitimately questionable heading into this game. Might be best to sit all the 49er RBs this week.
QB Jimmy Garoppolo has not been great this season, going 22/30 for 189 and a score last week, but so far, there have not been any major Trey Lance news out of 49er camp this week. The Packers currently have a Top 7 pass defense led by CB Jaire Alexander, so keeping Jimmy G on the bench might be wise, assuming you weren’t already sitting him.
At receiver, it starts and ends with WR Deebo Samuel for the 49ers. He is currently WR3 in most formats and has already been targeted 20 times this season, touching the ball 17 times. Samuel might matchup with Alexander some on Sunday night, but Deebo is a different type of receiver than what Green Bay have faced in terms of No. 1 targets so far this year. Perhaps Deebo’s YAC, RB-like tendencies will make him more immune to being shut down by Alexander and the Packers pass defense.
We’re still waiting for a breakout game from TE George Kittle, who has been asked to block more than expected this season. It might have to wait a week longer as the Packers were the fourth-best team in 2020 in terms of allowing fantasy points to tight ends.
For Green Bay, you can use QB Aaron Rodgers, WR Davante Adams and RB Aaron Jones as you normally would. San Francisco is 27th-ranked against the run so far this season, and so we will see if Jones can have another excellent game after his masterpiece against Detroit on Monday.
Keep an eye on the WR2 spot for Green Bay as WR Marquez Valdez-Scantling and WR Allen Lazard have been out on the field almost exactly the same amount (81-79 snaps in slight favor of Lazard). If this becomes a shootout, either might prove to be a shrewd play in the flex spot this week.
Another interesting development against Detroit on Monday, TE Robert Tonyan was actually out-snapped by fellow TE Mercedes Lewis (36-28). I wouldn’t read too much into it, but it is something to keep an eye on.
- QB Aaron Rodgers
- RB Aaron Jones
- WR Davante Adams
- WR Deebo Samuel
- TE George Kittle
- WR Allen Lazard
- WR Marquez Valdez-Scantling
- TE Robert Tonyan
- WR Brandon Aiyuk
- RB Elijah Mitchell
- RB A.J. Dillon
- QB Jimmy Garoppolo
- WR Trent Scherfield
Monday Night Football (ESPN)
Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) @ Dallas Cowboys (1-1)
Weather forecast: Indoors
It’s an NFC East Derby game between Philly and Dallas, played indoors on the fast track at AT&T Stadium.
Philadelphia, somewhat surprisingly to some, are currently the fourth-ranked defense in the league after holding San Francisco to just 17 points last week. That won’t be enough to bench any of your Cowboys this week, however.
QB Dak Prescott had a poor game last week on the road against the Chargers, but returning home for a rivalry game on Monday Night feels like a bounce back situation for Dak and the Cowboys’ offense.
The big takeaway from last week for Dallas was that RB Tony Pollard’s role seems to be growing. He played on 34 percent of snaps in Week 2, as opposed to just 24 percent the previous week. And last week, Pollard made the most of his opportunities, leading the Dallas backfield with 109 yards rushing and a touchdown to go along with three catches on three targets. This will be something to continue to monitor, especially if RB Ezekiel Elliot continues to struggle (3.85 ypc so far this season). For now, still keep Zeke in your lineups and keep Pollard on the bench, but we will keep a close eye on both this week.
Of course, you’re starting WR Amari Cooper and WR CeeDee Lamb. Lamb in particular, already has 24 targets and 198 total yards through two weeks. Cooper had a down game last week, but he also has 21 targets on the year. Both are excellent starts every week.
Despite “experts” predicting the opposite all offseason, TE Dalton Schultz has out-snapped TE Blake Jarwin in both games so far this season, although neither are great options as both sort of cannibalize each other’s fantasy production. Both can be sat this week, although the Eagles gave up the ninth-most fantasy points to tight ends in 2020.
For the Eagles, QB Jalen Hurts has predictably struggled through the air, especially last week (12 for 23 for 190 yards and no touchdowns), but his rushing ability has kept him as the QB7 so far this season.
That has trickled down to WR DeVonta Smith, who had seven targets last week, but did very little with them on his way to a two-catch, 16 yard performance. Smith and WR Jalen Reagor remain the starters with WR Quez Watkins appearing in about half of the Eagles’ offensive snaps so far this year. Smith is the only trustworthy start out of this receiving corps at this point.
At tight end, both TE Dallas Goedert and TE Zach Ertz are being utilized, and both played an almost identical number of snaps last week (38-37), which is disappointing for Goedert-owners who were banking on Ertz leaving town this offseason, paving the way for a big jump in production from Goedert. So far, that hasn’t been the case as Goedert has just seven targets total this year.
In the backfield, it’s been RB Miles Sanders and RB Kenneth Gainwell handling the duties for the Eagles in roughly a 60/40 split in terms of snaps. Sanders, despite all of the offseason shade, has been solid, averaging 4.61 yards per carry, although he has yet to find the endzone. I like him this week against a Cowboys defense that allowed 115 yards yards and nine receptions to RB Austin Ekeler last week.
- QB Dak Prescott
- WR Amari Cooper
- WR CeeDee Lamb
- RB Ezekiel Elliot
- QB Jalen Hurts
- RB Miles Sanders
- WR DeVonta Smith
- WR Jalen Reagor
- TE Dallas Goedert
- TE Blake Jarwin
- TE Dalton Schultz
- WR Cedrick Wilson
- RB Kenneth Gainwell
- WR Quez Watkins
- TE Zach Ertz
Check back next week for continued coverage. Also, let us know your thoughts, join the conversation and drop us a comment!
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Your typical know-nothing wannabe who never played American football growing up, Andrew grew up playing the REAL football, dreaming of being the next Ronaldo (the Brazilian one).
One fateful day in 1998, Andrew was introduced to one, Randy Moss, who would almost singlehandedly vault American football to the forefront of a young twelve-year-old’s flimsy attention span.
Twenty-some years later, Andrew, now a father, coach and rabid Tottenham supporter, still loves both footballs.