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 (NBC)
New York Giants (0-1) @ Washington Football Team (0-1)
Weather forecast: Cloudy. High of 74° with 5mph wind.
QB Daniel Jones looks to rebound from a poor real-life display last week against the Broncos, although his fantasy day was salvaged by a late rushing score. It will be tough sledding against a Football Team defense that held QB Justin Herbert to just one passing score in Week 1 along with a couple of turnovers. You probably have a better starting option than Jones in 1QB leagues.
RB Saquon Barkley only handled ten carries on Sunday as the Giants tried to ease him back into action. I expect his workload to ramp up moving forwards, but against the No. 2 ranked overall defense in 2020 on a short week with a struggling offensive line, I would limit my expectations for Barkley this week. WFT held RB Austin Ekeler to 57 total yards on 15 touches (3.8 yard average) last week.
WR Kenny Golladay led the Giants in routes run on Sunday, and he represents the best chance for any Giants player to have a good fantasy day despite WR Sterling Shepard’s big day last week (7 for 113 and a TD). WR Darius Slayton, who seems to have fallen to third (at best) on the receiver pecking order, can be benched until further notice. WR Kadarius Toney too with how much training camp he missed.
TE Evan Engram is reportedly getting close to being able to start Thursday night, but on the short week, I am not very excited about starting Engram either, who dealt with drops and injuries last season as well. Washington allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to the tight end position in 2020.
On the Washington side, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick dislocated his hip and is expected to be out for a while, and as odd as it sounds, the loss of Fitzpatrick is likely to be pretty devastating to the fantasy production of all the Washington pass catchers with QB Taylor Heinicke taking over. TE Logan Thomas might see decent production with Heinicke under center.
RB Antonio Gibson now becomes even more vital to Washington’s offense than he already was. What was encouraging for Gibson owners on Sunday was that he played on over 67 percent of snaps (20 carries, five targets) versus just 36.7 percent of snaps for RB J.D. McKissic (one carry, one target), and so it appears as though Gibson has overtaken McKissic as the passing down RB as well. The Giants allowed RB Melvin Gordon to torch them on the ground for over 100 yards on just 11 carries on Sunday, so I’d feel good about starting Gibson on Thursday.
- RB Antonio Gibson
- WR Terry McLaurin
- TE Logan Thomas
- RB Saquon Barkley
- WR Kenny Golladay
- QB Taylor Heinicke
- WR Curtis Samuel
- WR Dyami Brown
- RB J.D. McKissic
- WR Sterling Shepard
- WR Darius Slayton
- WR Kadarius Toney
- TE Evan Engram
- RB Devontae Booker
Sunday Noon Games
New Orleans Saints (1-0) @ Carolina Panthers (1-0) (FOX)
Weather forecast: Cloudy and hot. High of 84° but feels like 90°. 4mph wind.
Welp, the Jameis Winston experiment was a resounding success in Week 1, as the former Buccaneer QB threw for five touchdowns against the Packers, who clearly looked out of sorts on Sunday. Winston only threw 20 times all game.
The Panthers defense frustrated Jets rookie QB Zach Wilson last week, generating 17 pressures during the game. If you need to start Winston, I wouldn’t let the prospect of facing Panthers (18th ranked defense in 2020) stop you, but I would not be surprised to see Winston come back to earth this week.
You’re starting the matchup-proof RB Alvin Kamara, no discussion needed, but fellow RB Tony Jones is interesting. He was the only other Saints RB to log a carry (11 carries for 50 yards), and there will be weeks where his presence on the ground will be enough to make him usable in fantasy even behind Kamara. 31-year-old RB Latavius Murray had seven weeks in 2020 with 50 yards or more, and there are far fewer weapons on that Saints offense now. Jones is an interesting flex play if need be even against a Panthers defense that completely shut down the Jets running game in Week 1.
In the passing game, I’m sitting the Saints receivers until we see if they throw to them more often. WR Marquez Callaway, the presumed WR1 for New Orleans heading into the week, actually did run the most routes out of the Saints receivers with 21. WR Deonte Harris only ran nine routes, but caught both targets for a 55-yard day with a touchdown. I still consider Callaway the WR to own in New Orleans (at least until Michael Thomas’ return), despite his stinker in Week 1.
Also, be careful with TE Juwan Johnson. He’s the hot name in waiver wire discussions due to his two touchdowns against the Packers, but TE Adam Trautman was on the field for 82 percent of snaps (19 percent for Johnson), ran twice as many routes as Johnson (18-9) and was the most targeted Saints player on the day (6 targets). I do not think there’s a “TE1 controversy” in New Orleans. Trautman is still the guy.
For the Panthers, RB Christian McCaffrey was the highest scoring RB in the league in most formats without scoring a touchdown. Scary.
QB Sam Darnold had a nice Week 1, but I think I’m benching him this week. New Orleans allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks in 2020, and they absolutely embarrassed QB Aaron Rodgers and the entire Green Bay offense last week.
The Panthers wide receivers and their usage will be hard to predict all season. Both WR Robby Anderson and WR D.J. Moore played on 81 percent of Carolina’s offensive snaps and were nearly identical in total routes run (34-33 in favor of Moore). I would say both Panthers receivers will take turns as the WR1 depending on the week.
- RB Alvin Kamara
- RB Christian McCaffrey
- TE Adam Trautman
- WR D.J. Moore
- WR Robby Anderson
- QB Jameis Winston
- WR Terrace Marshall
- RB Tony Jones
- WR Marquez Callaway
- WR Deonte Harris
- TE Juwan Johnson
- QB Sam Darnold
- TE Dan Arnold
Cincinnati Bengals (1-0) @ Chicago Bears (0-1) (FOX)
Weather forecast: Thick. High of 83° but 75% humidity feels like 90°. 7mph winds.
Apparently WR Ja’Marr Chase is capable of catching the ball after all.
In Week 1 versus Minnesota, Chase was the true WR1 for the Bengals both in terms of production (107 yards, a touchdown and zero drops) and in terms of usage (led the team in routes run, total targets and target rate). Expect that to fluctuate from week to week a bit, but we can now put aside all the “bust” talk regarding Chase.
RB Joe Mixon was also heavily involved in the passing game, which is very encouraging for fantasy managers who were worried about RB Chris Evans perhaps stealing passing game work from Mixon in 2021. Mixon ran 18 routes and caught all four targets on Sunday against the Vikings. His 29 rushing attempts won’t always be there either depending on game script, but it was great to see Mixon being so assertive and explosive against a Vikings run defense with some pretty impressive names across the defensive line and linebacking group.
I wouldn’t be afraid to start any of my Bengals this week. The Bears defense was middle-of-the-pack at best in 2020, and they didn’t look largely improved against the Rams in Week 1, allowing QB Matthew Stafford to pass for 321 yards and three touchdowns.
For Chicago, it’s just a matter of time before QB Justin Fields takes over for the uninspiring Andy Dalton. Dalton completed one — yes one — pass over ten yards against the Rams, and only attempted four passes of that distance or greater all game. Yes, a part of that is due to the Rams great defense, but Dalton certainly did not give much reason for Matt Nagy to stick with him much longer.
Reportedly, Nagy and the Bears want Dalton to start until at least Week 4, so keep both Dalton and Fields on your bench until further notice.
All of your Bears receivers and tight ends can probably stay there too, although you probably have to start WR Allen Robinson based on where you drafted him, plus the Bengals gave up 14 catches, 163 yards and two touchdowns to the Adam Thielen/Justin Jefferson duo last week.
RB David Montgomery was the lone bright spot for the Bears’ offense against the Rams, totaling 118 total yards and a score and looking explosive all night. The Bengals bottled up RB Dalvin Cook on the ground last week, limiting him to 61 rushing yards on 20 carries, but also allowing Cook to catch six passes for 43 yards through the air. Montgomery will need to do better than Cook on the ground however, because RB Damien Williams appeared to get the majority of the passing down work for the Bears last week (with five targets versus Montgomery’s one target).
- QB Joe Burrow
- RB Joe Mixon
- WR Ja’Marr Chase
- WR Tee Higgins
- RB David Montgomery
- WR Tyler Boyd
- WR Allen Robinson
- WR Darnell Mooney
- TE Cole Kmet
- RB Samaje Perine
- QB Andy Dalton
- QB Justin Fields
- RB Damien Williams
- TE C.J. Uzomah
Houston Texans (1-0) @ Cleveland Browns (0-1) (CBS)
Weather forecast: Partly cloudy. High of 80° with 4mph winds.
Just as we all expected, it’s the Houston Texans heading into Week 2 as division leaders.
QB Tyrod Taylor threw for nearly 300 yards and two scores with another 40 rushing yards against the Jaguars. It appears as though Jacksonville is going to be something of a disaster in general in 2021, so take Taylor’s performance with a grain of salt. I don’t think he’s startable against the Browns, despite their poor defensive performance against Kansas City in Week 1.
Most weeks, the only attractive fantasy option for Houston is going to be WR Brandin Cooks. He went 5-132-0 last week, and by far led all Texans in number of routes run with 35. Nico Collins was second on the team with 27.
Surprisingly, RB Mark Ingram led the Houston backfield last week, playing 45.3 percent of the snaps and garnering 26 rushing attempts. RB Phillip Lindsay was next closest in attempts with 8. RB David Johnson led the way on passing downs, leading the backs with four targets. Long story short, avoid this backfield this week (and most weeks), especially in the case of a negative game script which is always possible with the Texans.
For Cleveland, I don’t know if there’s a better start than RB Nick Chubb this week. Houston was the 30th-ranked overall defense in 2020, and the Browns will likely be running a ton out of a positive game script all afternoon. RB Kareem Hunt might even get enough ancillary work to be a good start this week as well as he was last week (six carries for 33 yards and a touchdown and three catches for 28 more yards through the air).
WR Jarvis Landry caught all five targets and scored a rushing touchdown last week, and I expect him to have plenty to do against Houston early in this game. He’s a good start with WR Odell Beckham Jr. out again this week unless this game gets out of hand early and the Browns elect to go very run-heavy as we all expect.
One player to be aware of as well is WR Donovan Peoples-Jones. He tied Landry for the team lead in number of routes run (27), and while his target share was way down, at least he was on the field. WR Anthony Schwartz did more with his limited opportunities (69 yards receiving on three catches), but DPJ was definitely the WR2 last week for Cleveland in terms of snaps (DPJ played 81 percent of snaps; Schwartz played 53 percent) and routes run. I’m not advocating you start him, but it’s something to keep an eye on.
The snap counts for the three tight ends were 38 snaps for TE Austin Hooper, 35 snaps for TE David Njoku and 19 for TE Harrison Bryant. Njoku had the best production last week, but it feels like this will be a game-by-game thing until one of the three really separates himself. I’d bench all three until we see who that might be.
- RB Nick Chubb
- RB Kareem Hunt
- WR Jarvis Landry
- WR Brandin Cooks
- QB Baker Mayfield
- WR Donovan Peoples-Jones
- TE Austin Hooper
- TE David Njoku
- TE Harrison Bryant
- QB Tyrod Taylor
- RB Mark Ingram
- RB Phillip Lindsay
- WR Nico Collins
- TE Brevin Jordan
- TE Jordan Akins
Los Angeles Rams (1-0) @ Indianapolis Colts (0-1) (FOX)
Weather forecast: Indoors
With underrated weapons, an undermanned running game and Sean McVay pulling the strings, I am very close to considering QB Matthew Stafford among the elite fantasy quarterbacks this year. I just want to see it again on the road against a good defense like Indy (No. 8 overall defense in 2020) before I’m ready to completely anoint him as an every week A-start.
It has only been one game, but it seems as though WR Cooper Kupp is going to be the main benefactor of the quarterback upgrade this year. Kupp ran the most routes on the team last week, and he was targeted on a third of those snaps. The Colts had the 20th ranked passing defense in 2020 and are fresh off of allowing QB Russell Wilson to throw for four touchdowns last week. Start Kupp.
Interestingly, WR Van Jefferson ran 23 routes to WR Robert Woods’ 18, and Woods was largely invisible until a late touchdown salvaged his evening. I am not yet worried about Woods, but I want to see what happens this week.
TE Tyler Higbee’s Week 1 performance was noteworthy as well. He played on all 52 offensive snaps for the Rams, notable because we know now there will be no like-for-like replacement for the departed Gerald Everett. This is Higbee’s show now. Six targets last week was promising, and I think I’m starting Higbee hoping for more this week.
For the Colts, QB Carson Wentz was a solid fantasy option last week with 251 yards and two touchdowns with another 23 yards rushing. Wentz will obviously face a much stiffer test this week in the Rams. Leave Wentz on the bench in 1QB leagues if you have another decent option.
RB Jonathan Taylor is probably going to be in your lineup regardless of matchup, and the Bears’ RB David Montgomery had a nice night against the Rams last week. Interestingly, RB Nyheim Hines played on almost half of the Colts’ offensive snaps last week (46.5 percent), not all that much less than Taylor (53.5 percent). Hines also led the team with eight targets.
Taylor, Hines and the tight ends accounted for a lot of the Colts targets last week, and so the wide receivers did not have big days against the Seahawks. WR Zach Pascal led the team with four receptions for 43 yards, two for touchdowns. WR Michael Pittman, along with Pascal, led the Colts in routes run with 43 and 41 respectively. WR Parris Campbell was clearly third in the pecking order behind Pittman and Pascal, running 28 routes, coming up with only one catch.
- QB Matthew Stafford
- WR Cooper Kupp
- TE Tyler Higbee
- RB Jonathan Taylor
- RB Darrell Henderson
- WR Van Jefferson
- WR Robert Woods
- RB Nyheim Hines (PPR)
- WR Michael Pittman
- WR Zach Pascal
- RB Sony Michel
- WR Parris Campbell
- TE Jack Doyle
Denver Broncos (1-0) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1) (CBS)
Weather forecast: Muggy, thick, and generally gross. Overcast with a high of 81°, 96% humidity feels like 92°. 7mph winds and a 10% chance of rain.
The debut of QB Trevor Lawrence was up and down last week. On the bright side, Lawrence passed for 332 yards and three touchdowns. On the flip side, he also threw three interceptions and the Jags lost to a bad (we think) Houston Texans team. I think in most 1QB leagues, I’m leaving Lawrence on the bench against a Broncos defense that made things very tough for QB Daniel Jones and the New York Giants. Denver also allowed the second fewest touchdown passes in the league in 2020.
RB James Robinson was perhaps the most disappointing player in fantasy. Both he and RB Carlos Hyde should be benched until further notice.
WR D.J. Chark, much maligned after Urban Meyer’s comments about him this summer, quietly had 12 targets last week, leading all Jaguars receivers.
WR Marvin Jones produced the most out of the Jags wideouts in the box score with five catches on nine targets for 77 yards and a touchdown. Jones also narrowly beat Chark for the team lead in routes run with 49 (Chark had 46).
Things could change as the season progresses, and WR Laviska Shenault will be on the field plenty, but it looks like Chark and Jones were the top two wide receivers for Jacksonville in Week 1. All three Jags receivers are conceivable starts, but I doubt Lawrence tops 300 yards again, so it might be difficult to predict which of the three has the best day.
TE James O’Shaughnessy was the Jags’ No. 1 tight end, totaling six catches on eight targets for 48 yards. TE Jacob Hollister was added to the roster late in preseason as well, and it’s possible that O’Shaughnessy’s workload (80 percent of snaps) will decrease as Hollister gets more familiar in Jacksonville. I would leave O’Shaughnessy on the bench unless desperate.
This is a “Start your Broncos” week for all the Denver skill players.
There should be enough work for both RB Melvin Gordon and RB Javonte Williams (both of whom split snaps exactly 50/50) to be decent to very good starting options as the chances of the Broncos encountering a negative game script this week are slim. Jacksonville just got done allowing the corpse of Mark Ingram to rush for 85 yards and a touchdown. Imagine what a real NFL team might be able to muster.
- RB Melvin Gordon
- RB Javonte Williams
- TE Noah Fant
- QB Teddy Bridgewater
- WR Tim Patrick
- WR Courtland Sutton
- WR K.J. Hamler
- WR D.J. Chark
- WR Marvin Jones
- WR Laviska Shenault
- QB Trevor Lawrence
- RB James Robinson
- RB Carlos Hyde
- TE James O’Shaughnessy
- TE Jacob Hollister
Buffalo Bills (0-1) @ Miami Dolphins (1-0) (FOX)
Weather forecast: Just terrible. Hydrate, and don’t forget to bring a towel. High of 89° with 77% humidity feels like 109°. 11mph winds to boot.
QB Josh Allen and WR Stefon Diggs are must-starts every week, even against a talented Dolphins secondary. Diggs had 14 targets, and Allen attempted 51 passes last week. More of the same to come this week, I’m sure.
RB Zack Moss was a surprise healthy scratch on Sunday, and we didn’t really get a clear answer as to why he was held out. I would keep him on the bench until we learn more or until we see Moss out there for a week. Bench all the Bills running backs.
Diggs, along with WR Emmanuel Sanders and WR Cole Beasley, acted as the three receivers in “base,” running 55, 52 and 55 routes respectively in that game. Those same three receivers were all on the field for over 90 percent of the Bills’ offensive snaps as well. WR Gabe Davis was undoubtedly the fourth receiver, running just 34 routes on the day. Be mindful of this despite Davis’ touchdown.
For Miami, I wouldn’t shy away from starting any of your Dolphins, but I think there will be better matchups than this for them. Buffalo held QB Ben Rothlisberger and RB Najee Harris both in check last week.
The Dolphins backfield is something to watch moving forward. RB Myles Gaskin led the group in snaps with 29 (54 percent), but RB Malcolm Brown (30 percent) and RB Selvon Ahmed (20 percent) were all involved a good amount. Gaskin seems like the back to own in Miami, obviously, but the timeshare might be enough to annoy Gaskin owners all season.
WR Jaylen Waddle got off to a good start to his NFL career with four catches for 61 yards and a touchdown. His 27 routes run and 80 percent snap count put his right at the top with WR DeVante Parker in terms of leading the receiving corps last week. Waddle isn’t a great start this week, as Buffalo was a top ten team in 2020 in terms of allowing the fewest receiving touchdowns, but in a game that might see plenty of throwing, Waddle has game-breaking ability.
TE Mike Gesicki will look to rebound from his Week 1 performance that saw him make zero catches on two targets. What will be concerning to Gesicki-owners is that he only played 21 snaps in total (39 percent) on Sunday, while TE Durham Smythe played 38 snaps (70 percent). Rookie TE Hunter Long even played 18 snaps, and so the tight end situation in Miami is still a little murky at best. I’d sit Gesicki until it’s ironed out.
- QB Josh Allen
- WR Stefon Diggs
- WR Cole Beasley
- QB Tua Tagovailoa
- RB Myles Gaskin
- WR Jaylen Waddle
- WR DeVante Parker
- RB Devin Singletary
- RB Zack Moss
- WR Gabriel Davis
- TE Dawson Knox
- RB Malcolm Brown
- RB Salvon Ahmed
- TE Mike Gesicki
Las Vegas Raiders (1-0) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) (CBS)
Weather forecast: Clear. 79° with 7mph winds.
As someone with WR Bryan Edwards on several teams, I was happy when he finally came to life on the final drive of regulation and in overtime on Monday night, but looked at another way, it was disconcerting that in a game where QB Derek Carr threw 56 passes (he did it zero times in 2020), the Raiders were moving the ball through the air and scoring points with Edwards barely being targeted. It’s relatively easy to envision Edwards having some down games. I want to wait and see with him. Same goes for WR Henry Ruggs for that matter.
The split between RB Josh Jacobs and RB Kenyan Drake was about what you would expect with Jacobs getting more of the early down work but ceding passing game duties to Drake. If I had to choose one to start, I’d take Jacobs. Again, I think the Raiders want to throw way less often if they have their way.
For Pittsburgh, RB Najee Harris notably played on 100 percent of the team’s offensive snaps and carried the ball 16 times to go along with three targets. In short, Harris is going to get an incredible amount of volume this season. The Raiders allowed 189 rushing yards to the Ravens last week and were in the bottom eight in the league against the run in 2020. Get Harris into your lineups this week.
The receivers aren’t so easy to predict. All three of WR Diontae Johnson, WR Juju Smith-Schuster and WR Chase Claypool were on the field close to the same amount and ran nearly the same number of routes last week. Johnson happened to receive the touchdown, but that will change week to week.
- TE Darren Waller
- RB Najee Harris
- WR Chase Claypool
- WR Diontae Johnson
- QB Derek Carr
- RB Josh Jacobs
- WR Bryan Edwards
- WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
- RB Kenyan Drake
- WR Henry Ruggs
- QB Ben Roethlisberger
- TE Eric Ebron
- TE Pat Freiermuth
New England Patriots (0-1) @ New York Jets (0-1) (CBS)
Weather forecast: Clear. 81° with 8mph winds.
The Jets got absolutely nothing done on the ground last week as RB Ty Johnson, RB Michael Carter and RB Tevin Coleman combined for 17 carries for 45 rushing yards. Bench them all until further notice.
QB Zach Wilson had some nice moments on his way to a 258-yard, two score game last week, but I don’t like the prospect of starting a rookie quarterback against the Patriots.
WR Elijah Moore might have been helped by the absence of WR Jamison Crowder, but Moore was used heavily in Week 1. He played just two fewer snaps than WR Corey Davis and was on the field for 86 percent of the Jets plays.
On the other side, New England’s skill players are intriguing. The Jets were the fourth-worst pass defense in the NFL in 2020, and QB Mac Jones definitely represents an upgrade over Cam Newton in New England.
Both WR Jakobi Meyers (99 percent of snaps) and WR Nelson Agholor (85 percent of snaps) were easily the top two targets for the Patriots last week, leading the team tied with 38 routes run. Both are good bets this week against the Jets secondary.
TE Jonnu Smith and TE Hunter Henry both played similarly sized roles in Week 1 as expected, perhaps cannibalizing each other’s fantasy value in the process. Flip a coin if you must start a Patriot tight end.
- QB Mac Jones
- RB Damien Harris
- WR Jakobi Meyers
- WR Nelson Agholor
- WR Corey Davis
- TE Hunter Henry
- TE Jonnu Smith
- WR Elijah Moore
- RB James WHite
- RB Rhamondre Stevenson
- QB Zach Wilson
- RB Michael Carter
- RB Ty Johnson
- RB Tevin Coleman
- TE Tyler Kroft
San Francisco 49ers (1-0) @ Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) (FOX)
Weather forecast: Clear. 80° with 7mph winds.
So far, so good for WR DeVonta Smith. He didn’t get broken in half or thrown backward at the line (as many feared based on his size), and he looked very good on his way to six catches for 71 yards and a touchdown on eight targets. Smith was easily the top weapon on the Eagles last week, running 37 routes in total, ten more than the next closest Eagle. I think you can start him with confidence as a WR2 this week against a 49ers defense that allowed QB Jared Goff to throw for 338 yards.
QB Jalen Hurts, a very polarizing player in fantasy circles leading up to the start of the season, was great last Sunday. His 264/3 passing line along with 62 yards rushing was exactly what Hurts truthers were expecting out of him. I think there are worse starting options this week despite the 49ers’ very good pass defense ranking in 2020.
RB Miles Sanders enjoyed about a 65/35 split over RB Kenneth Gainwell in terms of snaps. RB Boston Scott had some buzz in camp, but he ended up logging zero snaps on offense with Gainwell handling change-of-pace and pass-catching duties behind Sanders. Sanders apparently has been limited in practice this week, so keep an eye on that this week. Even if he can go, I wouldn’t be opposed to sitting Sanders this week if I had other options. There’s a good chance the game script in this one will not be as favorable for Philly against the Niners as it was against Atlanta last week.
The biggest and most obvious story of the week regarding the 49ers and fantasy football is RB Elijah Mitchell.
I’m not starting him this week. Maybe you need to. I just don’t trust the situation yet. RB Trey Sermon was running ahead of Mitchell all camp and all preseason, and I think, at worst, he eats into Mitchell’s workload. It feels like people are assuming Mitchell’s 64 percent snap rate in Week 1 means he earned that type of workload by merit, when it feels more like his usage was out of necessity due to Mostert getting hurt. If you spent big FAAB bucks on Mitchell, I guess you should start him, but I think this will be a committee at best.
QB Jimmy Garoppolo remains the starter for now, while QB Trey Lance settles for spot duty. I’m lukewarm on the 49ers passing game aside from WR Deebo Samuel this week. The Eagles held QB Matt Ryan to under 200 yards passing last week.
- TE Dallas Goedert
- TE George Kittle
- WR Deebo Samuel
- QB Jalen Hurts
- WR DeVonta Smith
- WR Jalen Reagor
- RB Miles Sanders (if healthy)
- QB Jimmy Garoppolo
- RB Kenneth Gainwell
- WR Quez Watkins
- RB Trey Sermon
- RB Elijah Mitchell
- WR Brandon Aiyuk
- WR Trent Scherfield
Sunday Late Afternoon Games
Minnesota Vikings (0-1) @ Arizona Cardinals (1-0) (FOX)
Weather forecast: Indoors
WR Adam Thielen caught nine of ten targets last week for 92 yards and two scores. WR Justin Jefferson was right behind Thielen with nine targets of his own, catching five of them for 71 yards against the Bengals. Expect this duo to continue to dominate target share in Minnesota all season, especially with TE Irv Smith out.
The surprising player for Minnesota was WR K.J. Osborn. Typically the WR3 role in Minnesota doesn’t bear much fruit, but Osborn ran 47 routes (Thielen and Jefferson both ran 50) and had nine targets of his own. I don’t expect that to continue week in and week out, so start Osborn at your own risk this week.
RB Dalvin Cook was bottled up on the ground by his standards last week, but he was plenty involved in the passing game, running 26 routes. He’s one of the better starts this week against a Cardinals run defense that ranked in the bottom third of the league in 2020.
Over on the Cardinals side, the split between RB Chase Edmonds and RB James Conner was essentially 50/50 with Edmonds on the field 58 percent of the time, and Conner at 49 percent. Both had 16 touches with Edmonds handling more of the passing work as we expected. Both are good starts against a Vikings defense that allowed RB Joe Mixon to run wild last week.
Through the air, Kyler represents one of the prime starts this week, and DeAndre Hopkins as his go-to is equally easy. Where it gets tricky is with the WRs that come after. Between A.J. Green, Christian Kirk and Rondale Moore the lines start to get fuzzy. On paper Green is the clear WR2 whose 55 snaps, 48 routes and six targets were second only to Hopkins, though the number of targets per route run, and the lack of production from those targets is more than a bit discouraging.
Don’t overlook Kirk (39 snaps, 23 routes, five targets) who has serious potential out of the slot where 22 of his routes came from. Kirk also has the most 3rd down looks and endzone targets, with two of his five targets turning into touchdowns. Rondale Moore is still bottled lightning. He only saw 20 snaps, though getting five targets it’s clear they want the ball in his hands. With an average depth of target of only four yards, he’s going to have to earn his yards but makes for a fine boom-or-bust flex.
- QB Kyler Murray
- WR DeAndre Hopkins
- WR Adam Thielen
- WR Justin Jefferson
- RB Dalvin Cook
- RB James Conner
- RB Chase Edmonds
- QB Kirk Cousins
- WR Rondale Moore
- WR Christian Kirk
- WR A.J. Green
- TE Maxx Williams
- RB Alexander Mattison
- WR K.J. Osborn
- TE Chris Herndon
- TE Tyler Conklin
Atlanta Falcons (0-1) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0) (FOX)
Weather forecast: Stay hydrated, don’t forget to bring a towel, it’s hot. High of 90° with 70% humidity feels like 107°. 3mph winds and 9% chance to rain.
QB Tom Brady might threaten passing records this season if Tampa Bay keeps everyone healthy. This week Brady faces the Falcons who ranked dead-last against the pass last season. You should start Brady this week.
You obviously need to start WR Antonio Brown, WR Chris Godwin and WR Mike Evans every week, but it’s interesting to take a closer look at their usage last Thursday.
Godwin and Evans were on the field for 98 percent and 94 percent (respectively) of Tampa Bay’s offensive snaps, while Brown was only out there for 65 percent. Godwin and Evans ran 50 and 48 routes (respectively), while Brown only ran 36 routes, suggesting that fantasy managers need not panic over Evans’ meager production in Week 1 because he is clearly running ahead of AB in terms of usage.
Somewhat surprising was that RB Leonard Fournette essentially ran unopposed all game, garnering 65 percent of the snaps AND running 29 routes. The supposed arrival of RB Giovanni Bernard to take over the passing game role has not yet materialized. Sit Bernard for now. Ronald Jones should be out of the doghouse now from his fumble last week, but with the split between the backs it’s still hard to trust him. If you do play him, flex him with caution.
For the Falcons, the passing game disappointed in what should have been a prime matchup against the Eagles last week. QB Matt Ryan, WR Calvin Ridley and TE Kyle Pitts all underwhelmed, but this week against the Bucs, it could very well be a different story in what should be a shootout.
Sit RB Mike Davis. Tampa Bay stifled RB Ezekiel Elliott in Week 1, and Davis failed to top 50 rushing yards last week.
- QB Tom Brady
- WR Chris Godwin
- WR Mike Evans
- WR Antonio Brown
- TE Rob Gronkowski
- WR Calvin Ridley
- QB Matt Ryan
- TE Kyle Pitts
- RB Leonard Fournette
- RB Ronald Jones
- RB Gio Bernard
- RB Mike Davis
- TE O.J. Howard
- WR Russell Gage
- WR/RB Cordarrelle Patterson
Dallas Cowboys (0-1) @ Los Angeles Chargers (1-0) (CBS)
Weather forecast: Clear. 71° with 8mph winds.
WR Michael Gallup has been placed on I.R., and WR Cedrick Wilson will step into that WR3 role in Dallas. Leave him on the bench until we see if the Cowboys keep featuring as much three-wide action without Gallup.
The Chargers were a bottom half defense against the run in 2020, so insert RB Ezekiel Elliott into your lineups. All the talk about Zeke being washed up after his performance last week is way too premature. The Buccaneers are a top run defense and the game flow called for a very pass-heavy game plan last week.
At tight end, many people thought TE Blake Jarwin would return from last season’s injury and immediately relegate TE Dalton Schultz to a backup role. That did not happen in Week 1, as Schultz actually out-snapped Jarwin 57-48, and ran more routes than Jarwin, 39-35.
For the Chargers, RB Austin Ekeler ran 25 routes last week and had zero targets, causing much freaking out among the Twitter crowd. I would not be overly worried as the number of routes suggests the opportunities were there.
WR Mike Williams receiving 12 targets was a bit of a surprise. He’s only been targeted that much one other time in his career. WR Jalen Guyton was used as the clear cut No. 3 option and was on the field for 63 percent of snaps. All three of three Chargers wide receivers are great plays this week as Dallas will struggle to provide a consistent pass rush without DE Demarcus Lawrence.
- QB Dak Prescott
- RB Ezekiel Elliott
- WR Amari Cooper
- WR CeeDee Lamb
- QB Justin Herbert
- WR Keenan Allen
- RB Austin Ekeler
- WR Mike Williams
- TE Jared Cook
- WR Jalen Guyton
- RB Tony Pollard
- WR Cedrick Wilson
- TE Blake Jarwin
- TE Dalton Schultz
- RB Larry Rountree
- WR Josh Palmer
Tennessee Titans (0-1) @ Seattle Seahawks (1-0) (CBS)
Weather forecast: Umbrella suggested. 60° and 3mph winds. 84% humidity with a 53% chance to rain.
WR Tyler Lockett starred for the Seahawks last Sunday, torching the Colts secondary for four catches, 100 yards and two touchdowns on five targets. The Titans gave up a ton of big plays last season on their way to a bottom-four finish in total defense, and so both Lockett and WR D.K. Metcalf are great starters this week, as is QB Russell Wilson.
RB Chris Carson, annually one of the most underrated runners in fantasy, had a typical Chris Carson-type day with 91 yards rushing and three catches for 26 more yards. Expect more of the same this week against Tennessee who gave up over 100 yards on the ground to Arizona’s Conner and Edmonds last week.
The Seahawks played in a lot of two-tight sets last week as both TE Gerald Everett and TE Will Dissly were on the field over 70 percent of the time. Expect more of that this week, and Everett might be worth a spot-start this week if you are thin at tight end.
The Seahawks were a top five unit against the run last season, but it’s not going to affect what you do with RB Derrick Henry. You’re starting him. Preseason favorite RB Mekhi Sargent saw one snap last week. RB Jeremy McNichols is in the early driver’s seat as Henry’s top backup. McNichols saw 36 percent of snaps and ran 14 routes.
Despite worry from some that TE Geoff Swaim had overtaken TE Anthony Firkser on the depth chart during preseason, Firkser proved himself as the Titans tight end to own in fantasy by running 27 routes last week. He’s still not a strong start unless you are very thin at the position.
- QB Russell Wilson
- RB Chris Carson
- WR D.K. Metcalf
- WR Tyler Lockett
- RB Derrick Henry
- WR A.J. Brown
- WR Julio Jones
- QB Ryan Tannehill
- TE Gerald Everett
- WR D’Wayne Eskridge
- RB DeeJay Dallas
- WR Chester Rogers
- TE Geoff Swaim
- RB Jeremy McNichols
Sunday Night Football (NBC)
Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) @ Baltimore Ravens (0-1)
Weather forecast: Clear. 75° with 3mph winds.
Don’t fall for it. Do not fall for it. Leave WR Sammy Watkins alone. Don’t inquire about him. Don’t trade for him. Do not insert him into your lineups. Do everything in your power to remember that this is what Watkins does: explode in Week 1 only to scarcely ever be heard from again.
In all the waiver wire excitement involving RB Ty’Son Williams, as well as the early euphoria of seeing Williams break a couple of big plays against Vegas, I think a lot of people did not realize RB Latavius Murray overtook Williams before our very eyes during that game, finishing with more carries and scoring the rushing touchdown. I’m not suggesting Murray has “won” a bellcow role with the Ravens, but he is for sure going to have a sizable role in Baltimore’s run-heavy attack.
TE Mark Andrews was held to three catches in Week 1, but Kansas City allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to tight ends in 2020, and with WR Rashad Bateman still out, expect Andrews to get involved this week. Andrews ran the most routes out of any Ravens player last week against the Raiders. He’s a must-start every week.
For the Chiefs, I’m about ready to jump ship on Clyde Edwards-Heliare. I know it’s just one week, but it looks like way more of the same from him. He was stuffed at the goal line again last week. I don’t expect the holes to suddenly become bigger against Baltimore, the No. 2-ranked overall defense in 2020. You’re not going to sit him in all likelihood, but I’d temper expectations. If there’s any silver lining to CEH, it’s that RB Darrell Williams only had a 22 percent snap rate.
In the passing game, you know the drill: start Mahomes, Hill and Kelce. Bench everyone else.
- QB Patrick Mahomes
- WR Tyreek Hill
- TE Travis Kelce
- QB Lamar Jackson
- TE Mark Andrews
- RB Latavius Murray
- RB Ty’Son Williams
- WR Marquise Brown
- WR Mecole Hardman
- WR Demarcus Robinson
- RB Le’Veon Bell
- WR Sammy Watkins
Monday Night Football (ESPN)
Detroit Lions (0-1) @ Green Bay Packers (0-1)
Weather forecast: Clear and windy. 77° with 13mph winds.
Do you think Rodgers waited until the end of the game to call the Jeopardy producers? That was embarrassing. After such a strong week 1, I can’t imagine a more exciting Monday Night Game than this thriller…
Ok, it’s still Rodgers, reigning NFL MVP, and he’s at home against Detroit who had an historically bad defense in 2020 as well as a poor week 1 performance. We can expect M-O-R-E this week. If you’ve got him, plug him in.
Despite the equally poor run game, Aaron Jones has a surefire bounce-back week in store, as the Lions just let the – by all camp and pre-season indicators – 3rd string running back of San Francisco to put up a monster game. Feel confident that Jones should get many opportunities to flip-the-script from last week. A.J. Dillon could be in line for some volume if the score starts to run up early. While he’s still not a recommended starter, if you need a flex he could fill in nicely this week.
Adams is also a must-start, especially now that Lions Cornerback Jeff Okudah is done for the year. Expect Tonyan to get in on the action as well, he got 4 targets while only playing 28 snaps (49%). As for the rest, don’t bother. This will be the Rodgers/Adams/Jones/Tonyan show. Tuck the rest of the Pack deep in the bag for another week.
As for the Lions, Jared Goff may be in for another high-volume game if the Packers do return to form. While volume can provide for enticing fantasy options, I still don’t trust him this week. Let him ride pine.
D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams have an interesting dynamic. Swift was in on 68% of snaps, compared to Williams’ 35%. Opportunities were a bit closer though, as Swift took 11 carries and 11 targets, compared to nine carries and nine targets for Williams. This suggests that when Williams is on the field, he’s getting opportunities, and they may have been trying to ease Swift back to a full workload. Both can be played this week, especially in PPR leagues, as both should get touches on the ground and in the air.
Lions WRs are a bit more suspect, as snaps were plentiful for many, while targets were not. Tyrell Williams would probably be the best bet, if he weren’t in concussion protocol after a helmet-to-helmet shot. For now, until we see consistency from at least one in this receiver core, keep them all on the bench.
Hockenson is easy; start the man.
- QB Aaron Rodgers
- WR Davante Adams
- RB Aaron Jones
- TE T.J. Hockenson
- TE Robert Tonyan
- RB D’Andre Swift
- RB A.J. Dillon
- RB Jamaal Williams
- WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling
- WR Allen Lazard
- WR Randall Cobb
- QB Jared Goff
- All Detroit WRs
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.