If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play): Javorius Allen (he’s going to play a lot with Kenneth Dixon out of the picture on a short week while the Bengals allowed Colts backs to catch 10 passes in Week 1), Nick Boyle (a deep streamer for anyone scrambling after losing Delanie Walker or just reaching, filling in for Hayden Hurst, Boyle ran the most pass routes of the Baltimore tight end hodgepodge, totaling six targets, catching three for 40 yards and even had a touchdown called back while the Bengals linebackers are target in coverage with Vontaze Burfict still suspended and their sound perimeter defense, allowing the Colts tight ends to catch 12-of-16 targets for 124 yards and a score in Week 1)
Get the Rotoworld Season Pass for projections, early-week rankings, WR & RB reports, exclusive columns and chats with our experts and much more for just $19.99." data-reactid="38"> Editor's Note: Looking for a weekly edge in your fantasy leagues? Get the Rotoworld Season Pass for projections, early-week rankings, WR & RB reports, exclusive columns and chats with our experts and much more for just $19.99.
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Chiefs @ Steelers
|29.7%||7||Opp. Rush %||44.7%||22|
|70.3%||26||Opp. Pass %||55.3%||11|
- The Chiefs haven't bested their implied team total in six consecutive games versus the Steelers dating back to the 2011 season.
- Patrick Mahomes had the highest averaged depth of throw (14.6 yards) for all passers in Week 1.
- Tyreek Hill has caught 21-of-24 targets (87.5 percent) for 351 yards (14.6 yards/target) from Mahomes including the preseason.
- Mahomes has completed 20-of-39 targets (51.3 percent) for 239 yards (6.1 yards/target) to other Chiefs players over that span.
- James Conner played 91.7 percent of the Week 1 snaps and was the only running back to account for 100 percent of his backfield's touches in Week 1.
- After ranking 31st in points allowed to opposing wide receivers in 2017 (37.5 points per game), the Chiefs allowed 47.8 (25th) to the Chargers’ wideouts Week 1.
- Kansas City allowed 19.9 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks on the road in 2017, the most in the league, while allowing 28.9 in Week 1.
Ben Roethlisberger (even with the minor elbow injury, we’re always into Ben at home where he once again averaged +5.9 points per game in 2017 as opposed to on the road and the matchup couldn’t be much better against a defense that has elevated quarterback scoring on the road), James Conner (he rolled his strong preseason right into Week 1 with an RB2 overall scoring finish as now Steelers running back filling in for Le'Veon Bell over his 19 career games missed has finished as a fantasy RB1 11 times and the Chiefs just surrendered 293 total yards to Chargers backs), Tyreek Hill (you can’t bank on the special teams touchdown nor the 1-yard pitch score to happen weekly, but Hill has been a dominant target for Mahomes with upside to score on any given play)" data-reactid="50">
Trust (spike starting production): Antonio Brown/JuJu Smith-Schuster (they combined for 58.5 percent of the Pittsburgh targets and 63 percent of the team receiving yardage in a monsoon while the Chiefs are the primary secondary we’ll be targeting this season for wide receiver play and would’ve looked even worse versus the Chargers if the Los Angeles wideouts didn't leave multiple touchdowns on the field), Ben Roethlisberger (even with the minor elbow injury, we’re always into Ben at home where he once again averaged +5.9 points per game in 2017 as opposed to on the road and the matchup couldn’t be much better against a defense that has elevated quarterback scoring on the road), James Conner (he rolled his strong preseason right into Week 1 with an RB2 overall scoring finish as now Steelers running back filling in for Le'Veon Bell over his 19 career games missed has finished as a fantasy RB1 11 times and the Chiefs just surrendered 293 total yards to Chargers backs), Tyreek Hill (you can’t bank on the special teams touchdown nor the 1-yard pitch score to happen weekly, but Hill has been a dominant target for Mahomes with upside to score on any given play)
On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline): Patrick Mahomes (his ceiling a week ago was aided by a pair of 1-yard touchdowns and he’s yet to find a groove with anyone outside of Hill, but Mahomes has the makeup to be a similar fantasy commodity to what DeShaun Watson was a year ago as a player that is going to push the ball downfield relentlessly and add production with his legs with the added bonus of being attached to a horrendous defense), Kareem Hunt (if he isn’t vultured twice by the passing game, his Week 1 is a bit better as he still had 16-of-21 backfield touches, but with Mahomes pushing the ball downfield so much, we have to proceed cautiously that his one target may stickier than we like)
Bust (underperformance): Sammy Watkins (his lackluster preseason spilled into Week 1, leaving him as only a blind contrarian dart in a game that has a massive game total and shootout appeal), Travis Kelce (things will get better for him than last week, but he’s trading one matchup he’s had little success with for another as the he’s posted just 18 catches for 164 yards and a touchdown over four meetings versus the Steelers while Pittsburgh has allowed just two touchdowns to opposing tight ends since the start of last season, the fewest in the league)
Dolphins @ Jets
|43.3%||18||Opp. Rush %||22.4%||2|
|56.7%||15||Opp. Pass %||77.6%||31|
- Kenyan Drake played 46 snaps Week 1 while Frank Gore played 18, with Drake totaling 17 touches to nine for Gore.
- Over the past four games that DeVante Parker has missed, Kenny Stills has finished as the WR19, WR2, WR25 and WR8, averaging 19.9 points per game over those weeks.
- The 48 points scored by the Jets were there most in a game since Week 1, 2012.
- Both Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell played 24 snaps each Week 1.
- Quincy Enunwa received 47.6 percent of the team targets in Week 1, the highest rate in the league.
On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline): Quincy Enunwa (he was easily Darnold’s favorite target, but still needs to find the end zone to vault himself over volume-driven WR3 status weekly), Isaiah Crowell (he’s touchdown reliant, but Miami can be run on a bit, ranking 20th in rushing points allowed to backfields a year ago and then allowing the eighth-most rushing points in Week 1), Kenny Stills (he should be considered a weekly WR3 option based on how he’s performed with Parker out of the lineup and his touchdown upside, but you’d still like to see more than the five targets he had a week ago to lean on when he fails to score)
Bust (underperformance): Sam Darnold (as positive as his first start was, he clocked in as just a mid-QB2 while Miami hasn’t allowed more than one touchdown pass in six straight games dating back to last season), Robby Anderson (his splits from last year with and without Josh McCown were a concern coming into the season and he had just one target Week 1. Despite being a player that can make a lot out of low volume, we don’t need to chase it against a secondary that has been strong against boundary wideouts dating back to last season), Ryan Tannehill (on the road with a low team total, he’s finished in the top-half of quarterback scoring in just 2-of-9 career games versus the Jets while this New York secondary is better than advertised), Kenyan Drake (he was the lead of the proposed timeshare, but the Jets are a stout run defense, ranking seventh in yards per carry allowed a year ago and first in Week 1 this year, while the Dolphins backfield rushed 39 times for 74 yards total in two games versus New York a year ago, leaving Drake as an option that needs to do damage in the receiving game), Jakeem Grant (his seven targets a week ago came on just 12 routes run, leaving those as a probable fluke for latching onto)
If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play): Bilal Powell (despite the dead even snap split in Week 1 with Crowell, the Dolphins have been giving to combo backs, ranking 27th in receiving points allowed to backfields in 2017 and allowing five catches to Dion Lewis a week ago), Danny Amendola (he was a letdown a week ago, catching 4-of-6 targets for 26 yards, but he was still second on the team in targets while the weakest portion of the Jets’ secondary is through the slot receiver)
Eagles @ Buccaneers
|27.7%||3||Opp. Rush %||22.0%||1|
|72.3%||30||Opp. Pass %||78.0%||32|
- The Eagles averaged just 3.6 yards per play Week 1, ahead of only Buffalo (2.5 yards).
- Philadelphia running back Week 1 snap count: Jay Ajayi 29, Darren Sproles 29, Corey Clement 13.
- The Buccaneers have allowed a rushing touchdown in seven consecutive games dating back to last season, the longest active streak in the league and their longest streak as a franchise since 1993-1994.
- Nelson Agholor's 33 Week 1 receiving yards were the fewest by a wide receiver on eight or more catches since Jarvis Landry had 31 yards on eight catches Week 16, 2014.
- After allowing the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers (38.0 per game) a year ago, the Buccaneers allowed 61.8 (30th) Week 1.
- Tampa Bay allowed 8.1 yards per play (31st) Week 1 after ranking 32nd in the league (6.0 yards per play) in 2017.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick’s 14.9 yards per pass attempt Week 1 were the highest rate for a passer with 25+ attempts in a game since Philip Rivers in 2009.
- Fitzpatrick completed 8-of-9 passes for 286 yards and three touchdowns on throws 15-yards or further downfield.
- Fitzpatrick completed 13-of-32 such throws for 310 yards and one touchdown in 2017.
- In the three games that either Mike Evans or DeSean Jackson missed last year, Chris Godwin had 25.1 percent of the Tampa Bay targets (28 total), turning them into 15 receptions for 277 yards and a touchdown while finishing as the WR35, WR21 and WR7 in scoring those weeks.
Trust (spike starting production): Mike Evans (he looks physically better than at any point in his career while the Eagles have shown a willingness to allow peak WR1 production to opposing lead wideouts, ranking 20th in WR1 production allowed in 2017 and then allowing the WR6 to open the season), Nelson Agholor (the yardage was nearly laughable for the volume, but that volume should have no problems rolling into Week 2 against a defense that allowed 13 receptions to slot wide receivers a week ago)
On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline): Zach Ertz (he still led the Eagles in targets and has been the most-targeted player with Foles under center, but the Bucs have been stingy to opposing tight end production, allowing the fewest points to the position since the start of last season), Jay Ajayi (he’s not going to do much in the passing game and needs to find the end zone, but that is possible here against a defense that has been handing out rushing scores longer than any other defense while you get the opportunity for him to close the game once again as a favorite), Nick Foles (he’s not someone you’re going to go out of your way to play based on how he’s performed this preseason and into Week 1, but a lot lines up here for him with the Bucs banged up in the secondary. If he were at home, there would be a greater case to be made in chasing the matchup, but he should be serviceable as QB2 option), Chris Godwin/DeSean Jackson (with Jackson now looking probable to suit up, both find themselves in the WR3/FLEX bucket),
Bust (underperformance): Peyton Barber (he has to fall into the end zone most weeks to reach RB2 status, but especially this week as the Eagles are a complete pass-funnel defense, ranking third in YPC allowed to opposing backfields in 2017 and stifling a much better Atlanta run game to 3.7 YPC to begin the season), Ryan Fitzpatrick (we’ve been down this road before with Fitzmagic posting an outlier type of game and then reverting back into the QB2 that he’s been throughout time. Follow the lowly team total here as a warning to avoid chasing last week), O.J. Howard (he should do better than the two targets he had a week ago if Jackson is inactive, but he’s only a boom-or-bust option)
If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play): Mike Wallace (any time you can suggest a wide receiver with no receptions in Week 1, you have to do it, but Wallace was on the field a week ago for 34 routes and led the Eagles in air yard opportunity while the Bucs will potentially be starting backup cornerbacks with Vernon Hargreaves done for the season and Brent Grimes still dealing with a groin injury)
Browns @ Saints
|43.8%||20||Opp. Rush %||54.8%||30|
|56.3%||13||Opp. Pass %||45.2%||3|
- Per Pro Football Focus, Michael Thomas ran 51.2 percent of his routes from the slot Week 1, catching 10-of-11 targets for 96 yards and a touchdown. His previous slot rates were 22.3 percent in 2017 and 12.9 percent in 2016.
- After ranking first in points per touch (1.56), Alvin Kamara led the position in points per touch (2.54) in Week 1.
- Over his past six games played including the postseason, Kamara has rushed 62 times for 215 yards (3.5 YPC) with a high of just 44 yards rushing.
- Over that span, he's still averaged 22.6 fantasy points per game with four games over 20 fantasy points scored.
- After allowing the fourth-most pass completions of 20+ yards in 2017 (57), the New Orleans defense allowed eight such receptions in Week 1, tied for the most in the league (Kansas City).
- Jarvis Landry's 223 air yards were second in the league in Week 1 behind only Julio Jones (282) per AirYards.com.
- Landry averaged 63.9, 53.3, 76.9 and 39.9 air yards/game over his first four seasons in the league.
- Since taking over as a starting quarterback in 2016, Tyrod Taylor has eight games with double-digit fantasy points from rushing, trailing only Cam Newton (13) over that span.
Trust (spike starting production): Drew Brees (positive touchdown regression has already kicked in while being at home attached to the highest team total of the week), Mike Thomas (he led the NFL in yards per route run from the slot in 2017 and the Saints gave him increased deployment there to outstanding success Week 1. Cleveland struggled on the interior a week ago, allowing Pittsburgh wideouts to catch 6-of-12 targets for 125 yards in the slot), Alvin Kamara (we’ve already had an ongoing sample of what being an inefficient rusher could do for his bottom line and the answer is next to nothing given how he’s used in the passing game and how many scoring opportunities the Saints generate), Jarvis Landry (he’ll surely shed some targets to the other Cleveland pass catchers as the season unveils, but his usage is drastically different down the field despite still drawing 11-of-15 targets from the slot)
On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline): Tyrod Taylor (last week was a prime example of why Taylor is such a sound fantasy option. Even playing unwatchable football, he still holds one of the highest floors and gets to play indoors against a defense that just allowed the highest-scoring QB a week ago), Ted Ginn (when New Orleans is at home, he's in play as he has averaged 14.1 points per game in nine games at home since joining the Saints, catching five of his six touchdowns at home)
Bust (underperformance): Carlos Hyde (he’s a fringe-RB2 option as he’ll need to find the end zone as a huge, road dog and only garnering two targets in the pass game out of 39 team looks)
If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play): David Njoku/Duke Johnson (both players disappointed a week ago combining to catch two passes for 21 yards, but they were still second and third on the team in target opportunity while the volume should similar chasing points in the Superdome), Ben Watson (had 4-44 on 35 routes against a defense that has limited tight end production a week ago, while getting a much softer matchup this week, Watson is arguably the top streamer in most leagues for those fishing for an option)
Colts @ Washington
|40.0%||13||Opp. Rush %||29.4%||6|
|60.0%||20||Opp. Pass %||70.6%||27|
- Adrian Peterson received a touch on 28-of-42 snaps (66.7 percent) Week 1, the highest rate for any back with 20 or more snaps played.
- With his 166 yards from scrimmage in Week 1, Peterson was just the 10th running back in league history to post over 150 total yards in a game after turning 33-years old.
- After ranking second in points per touch in 2017 (1.47), Chris Thompson was third for all running backs (2.25) in Week 1.
- Vernon Davis out snapped Jordan Reed 47-41 in Week 1, but Reed ran 22 pass routes to just 11 for Davis.
- Per Pro Football Focus, Alex Smith (3.6 yards) and Andrew Luck (5.2 yards) had the lowest depth of target per thrown in Week 1.
- Luck attempted just five deep passes (15-yards or further) out of 53 attempts (9.4 percent) in Week 1. For his career entering this season, 21.1 percent of Luck’s passes have been throws 15-yards or further downfield.
Trust (spike starting production): Alex Smith (a Colts defense that is going to allow teams to stack hyper-efficient completions is made for Smith’s best qualities), Adrian Peterson ( I didn’t believe we’d be here at this stage of the season already, but another high-volume game should in the works as a home favorite with the opportunity to find the end zone once again), Jack Doyle (he led all tight ends in routes run Week 1 and garnered 10 targets in the pass game as his bet attributes are tailor-made for this new version of Luck)
On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline): Jamison Crowder (he was out-snapped by both Doctson and Richardson a week ago with Washington running out the clock, but was right on their heels in routes run while his interior ability fits right in for an increased target share this week against a soft zone defense), Chris Thompson (his 33 snaps and 11 touches were more than expected after the buzz around his injury, while we’re highlighting all of the intermediate options as the pieces to latch onto), Jordan Reed (don’t let the snap-share with Davis fool you, Reed was locked in with the game in neutral situations and was second on the team in first-team targets), Andrew Luck (the game plan is for Luck to be a high-volume version of his counterpart this week. As a road dog, his numbers should drop a bit, but Luck made that work for a QB12 finish Week 1)
Bust (underperformance): Josh Doctson/Paul Richardson (Richardson out-targeted Doctson six to three despite Doctson running more pass routes, but you’re only chasing a touchdown from this pair as the offense should flow through the intermediate options once again), T.Y. Hilton (the target volume is going to be consistent and always keep him in play, but for his career averages -19.4 receiving yards per game outdoors and has scored just 9-of-35 career touchdowns outside), Eric Ebron (he found the end zone, but ran 30 fewer routes than Doyle did, which was good for 23rd at the position),
Colts RBs (with Marlon Mack potentially returning, all of Mack, Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins will get opportunities for a road dog with a minuscule team total)
If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play): Ryan Grant (a bench-option revenge narrative, Grant drew nine targets to open the season and will run nearly two -thirds of his routes away from Josh Norman)
Chargers @ Bills
|49.1%||27||Opp. Rush %||46.0%||25|
|50.9%||6||Opp. Pass %||54.1%||8|
- LeSean McCoy had a touch or target on just 29.4 percent of his Week 1 snaps. His 2017 rate was receiving a carry or target on 50.4 percent of his snaps.
- The 153 total yards by the Bills in Week 1 were their fewest in a game since Week 5, 2006.
- The Bills averaged just 6.6 yards per possession in Week 1, the fewest in the league. The next closest team (Cleveland) averaged 18.9 yards per drive.
- Last week was the first time that the Chargers allowed four or more touchdown passes in a game since Week 6, 2014.
- The Chargers have failed to hit their implied team total in seven consecutive games heading to the Eastern Time Zone for an early start.
- After allowing a league-high 28.1 points per game to opposing backfields in 2017, the Bills allowed 33.5 points (26th) to the Baltimore backfield in Week 1.
- Chargers running backs combined to score 51.3 points Week 1, the second-most in the league behind Washington.
Trust (spike starting production): Phillip Rivers/Keenan Allen/Melvin Gordon (the Chargers put up 54 points when these teams played a year ago and while we can’t expect that total coming on a trip across the country, we inherently know that was a better Bills team and all the core Charger plays here are top fantasy options)
Bust (underperformance): All Bills Players (I’d love to offer some intelligent data points here and make potential volume-based cases for either LeSean McCoy or Kelvin Benjamin, but no one on this roster is entering your lineups willingly at this stage), Mike Williams (all of his targets and catches came in the fourth quarter last week in a jailbreak scenario, which is unlikely to happen here even though he should press both Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin sooner than later based on how they played Week 1)
If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play): Austin Ekeler (in the seven career games in which Ekeler has reached just five touches, he’s averaged 14.4 points per game while the Bills allowed three different running backs to score a week ago after allowing the most touchdowns to opposing backfields in 2017), Tyrell Williams (he had a forgettable Week 1 even with a touchdown since he dropped another would-be score, but he ran the most pass routes of any non-Allen Chargers wideout and the Bills allowed a touchdown reception to three different Baltimore wide receivers a week ago), Antonio Gates (he's on the lower-end of streaming options, but the Bills allowed Baltimore tight ends to catch 9-of-13 targets for 103 yards a week ago)
Vikings @ Packers
|41.0%||15||Opp. Rush %||40.9%||14|
|59.0%||18||Opp. Pass %||59.1%||19|
- Dalvin Cook played 57 snaps Week 1 while Latavius Murray played just 14.
- Randall Cobb has averaged 17.0 points per game over his past six games that Aaron Rodgers finished. He's been a WR1 in three of those games while the WR27 or higher in five of those games.
- Cobb has averaged just 38.4 yards receiving over eight games versus the Vikings since his rookie season with 42 or fewer yards in six of those eight games.
- Davante Adams has averaged just 33.6 yards per game in seven career games versus the Vikings with a high of 54 yards.
- After ranking fourth in the league in fantasy points allowed per target (1.36) to opposing wide receivers, the Vikings ranked ninth (1.32) in Week 1.
- Jimmy Graham has three or fewer catches in seven consecutive games played dating back to last year, the longest streak of his career. He’s had single-digit receiving yardage in four of those games.
Trust (spike starting production): Stefon Diggs (has scored in three straight games versus the Packers and is set to line up across from 35-year old Tramon Williams for half of his routes), Adam Thielen (the best bet still weekly for target volume, will test rookie Jaire Alexander in the slot)
On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline): Kirk Cousins (started the year off as QB10 at home in a softer matchup, but is locked in fringe-QB1 entering the week), Dalvin Cook (there were no limitations to his usage and his passing game use was immensely positive, but those seven targets can’t be counted on weekly and the Vikings offensive line remains a question mark after they ran for just 3.0 yards per carry Week 1), Randall Cobb (he’s consistently underperformed versus the Vikings, but will still get the majority of his work against rookie Mike Hughes), Jimmy Graham (he needs to regain more volume outside of the red zone just like Rudolph, but Minnesota struggled a week ago defending George Kittle to keep the door open for him having a shot to be more than just a touchdown-only option)
Bust (underperformance): Aaron Rodgers (when healthy, he’s reached 20 points just once in six full games versus a Zimmer-led Minnesota defense and if he’s not able to use his legs for those extra 2-3 points we’re used to getting weekly, he should fall short of his normal output while Vegas has put their mark on Green Bay generating a lower team total as well), Davante Adams (he’s only a touchdown away from saving the worst of his outcomes, but will draw Xavier Rhodes the most often of the Green Bay wideouts) and should be considered a WR2 with touchdown upside), Jamaal Williams (a touchdown-dependent option against the league’s number one run defense a year in efficiency and allowed just 8.4 rushing points a week ago to the San Francisco backfield), Kyle Rudolph (a touchdown-or-bust play, he was targeted on just 2-of-33 routes and has now had more than four targets in just one of five games with the Vikings complete offense with Cook active intact)
If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play): Geronimo Allison (he’s now scored 13.2 points per game over his six games starting and if there’s one Minnesota corner that can be beat, it’s Trae Waynes, who Allison will see the most often if Rhodes trails Adams)
Panthers @ Falcons
|38.6%||12||Opp. Rush %||42.2%||16|
|61.4%||21||Opp. Pass %||57.8%||17|
- Eight of the past 10 meetings between these teams have gone under the game total with only one game going over.
- Christian McCaffrey played 85.1 percent of the snaps Week 1, the highest rate he's had in any game to start his career.
- McCaffrey received 39.1 percent of the Carolina passing targets, the highest rate for any running back in the league.
- McCaffrey averaged 8.1 targets per game with Greg Olsen inactive a year ago as opposed to 5.7 per game with Olsen active.
- Devin Funchess averaged 7.8 targets per game with Olsen inactive as opposed to 6.0 per game with Olsen in the lineup.
- Cam Newton has been the QB18, QB15 and the QB18 in three starts in Atlanta since Dan Quinn joined the Falcons and has thrown one or fewer passing touchdowns in all of those meetings.
- Julio Jones accounted for 75.6 percent of the team’s air yards, both the highest rates for any player in Week 1.
Trust (spike starting production): Christian McCaffrey (everything lines up for him here: his usage is the highest it’s ever been, Olsen’s injury has cleared the path for even more receiving work, the Falcons have allowed the most receptions to opposing backfields three years in a row and now will be without Deion Jones and Keanu Neal), Tevin Coleman (the Carolina run defense isn’t one to challenge, but Coleman gets elevated from FLEX status to locked in RB2 now with Devonta Freeman out of the lineup and being attached a modest home favorite. In the three games that Freeman missed in 2017, Coleman registered 21, 21 and 19 touches with a touchdown in each game)
On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline): Julio Jones (an easy set and forget, but the massive Week 1 workload should disperse a bit naturally and he’s only been a WR1 in 2-of-10 career games versus the Panthers), Matt Ryan (even in a down season a year ago, Ryan threw for 300-yards in both meetings against Carolina, but has thrown two or fewer touchdowns in 10 of the past 11 meetings between these teams) Devin Funchess (even with the incoming target boost he gets a tough assignment against the stingy Atlanta boundary corners, but as the lead wideout in this matchup a year ago, posted a 5-86-0 line on seven targets), Cam Newton (the Atlanta defense has limited him since Dan Quinn has been the Head Coach, but with the major losses on defense and Cam’s rushing pocketbook, he should push starting fantasy numbers)
If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play): Mohamed Sanu (was a WR3 or better in each of the meetings between these teams a year ago and Carolina is coming off allowing a modestly usable game to Cole Beasley in the slot a week ago)
Texans @ Titans
|43.1%||17||Opp. Rush %||50.0%||28|
|56.9%||16||Opp. Pass %||50.0%||5|
- DeAndre Hopkins has averaged 6.6 receptions for 101 yards per game over 10 career games versus the Titans with six touchdowns.
- Hopkins has been a WR1 in seven of those games with at least 14.5 points in eight of those games.
- Lamar Miller has averaged 21.3 touches for 111 yards from scrimmage and 18.8 fantasy points per game in three games versus the Titans while with Houston.
- Deshaun Watson's 5.2 yards per pass attempt and 50 percent completion rate in Week 1 were his lowest totals across any of his seven games as a starting quarterback.
- Dion Lewis played 49 Week 1 snaps compared to 20 for Derrick Henry.
- Corey Davis was targeted on 35.1 percent of his Week 1 routes, seventh for all wide receivers in Week 1.
- Per Pro Football Focus, Davis had six targets from the slot Week 1. He totaled just six targets from the slot over the entirety of his rookie season a year ago.
Trust (spike starting production): DeAndre Hopkins (he still had 32.5 percent of the team targets a week ago and gets a matchup he’s consistently crushed)
On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline): Deshaun Watson (potential regression wasted no time finding him the starting blocks, but he should run into attachment to a bigger week from Hopkins to find a strong floor once again and could potentially see less pressure from a defense that had the lowest pressure rate from Week 1), Lamar Miller (he’s virtually a weekly lock for 20 touches and 100-yards from scrimmage, but just has trouble clearing that volume-based hurdle to get into the RB1 club), Dion Lewis (game script aided his usage a week ago, but he even pilfered and converted a rushing attempt inside of the 5-yard line for a score while the Texans allowed 10 receptions to running backs in Week 1), Corey Davis (he was hardly impressive in Week 1, but 13 targets is nothing to ignore when looking at the WR3 pile of fantasy options and he’s just about all this offense has to funnel targets to outside of Lewis)
Bust (underperformance): Derrick Henry (he did lose a long touchdown run a week ago to a phantom call that would've made his day much better, but that’s where we are with him to start the season now that this offense is so banged up and potentially ineffective. He’s going to have to find the end zone or make a huge splash-play run and needs the Texans to stay in neutral conditions when he doesn’t), Marcus Mariota (suffered multiple ailments last week, played poorly when on the field against a worse defense than this Houston one and he also lost his most-reliable pass catcher on offense to a season-ending injury)
If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play): Bruce Ellington (he was here last week when he found his way to eight targets and a score and you can go back to him if really thin against a defense that allowed 7-42-1 to slot receivers a week ago)
Cardinals @ Rams
|56.0%||31||Opp. Rush %||35.9%||9|
|44.0%||2||Opp. Pass %||64.1%||24|
- Arizona has covered in just 12-of-33 games since the start of 2016 and just five times on the road over that span. Only the Browns are worse in both categories over that time span.
- The Rams won both games against the Cardinals a year ago by a combined score of 65-16
- Todd Gurley totaled 26 touches for 154 yards from scrimmage (RB3) and 25 touches for 158 yards from scrimmage (RB7) in those two meetings a year ago.
- 40.5 percent of the rushing attempts against the Cardinals went for five or more yards, the highest rate in Week 1. They ranked seventh-best in the NFL in that category a year ago (30.5 percent).
- The Rams targeted wide receivers on offense with 78.8 percent of their throws, the highest rate in the league Week 1.
- Opposing wide receivers were targeted just 23.1 percent of the time versus the Rams Week 1, the lowest rate in the league.
- David Johnson was targeted on 25 percent of his snaps Week 1, tied with James White for the highest rate among running backs in Week 1.
- Johnson had just seven air yards in Week 1 on his nine targets. He averaged 34.9 air yards per game over his last full season 2016.
Trust (spike starting production): Todd Gurley (he picked up right where left off in 2017, posting 147 yards from scrimmage and is at home facing a defense that just allowed 301 yards to the Washington backfield a week ago), Brandin Cooks (the Rams made it certain right away that Cooks is not Sammy Watkins 2.0 in this offense, receiving eight targets and drawing two long penalties on deep balls. Cooks also moved around more, but where he lined up the most was on the left side, where he’ll avoid Patrick Peterson in this new Arizona defensive scheme in favor of Jamar Taylor’s coverage)
On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline): Jared Goff (he underperformed a bit a week ago, but was the QB11 and QB16 in his two games against Arizona a year ago while they just allowed 19.6 points and a QB11 scoring week on their home field a week ago), Cooper Kupp (the most bankable receiving option of this trio and the most likely to score, catching another touchdown pass inside of the 10-yard line Week 1, his eight targets from that area of the field since the start of last season are the most on the team), David Johnson (a late touchdown saved his Week 1 performance and while he was targeted a high amount and the Rams faced 15 backfield targets, Johnson was used as a traditional back out of the backfield and not the hybrid player we’ve seen in the past, which will be a concerning trend if it continues), Larry Fitzgerald (the entire Los Angeles is a bulk problem for this offense, but Fitz is a lock to push double-digit targets while avoiding the top-flight perimeter defenders)
Bust (underperformance): Robert Woods (he’s not necessarily a fade because he also moves around enough to have tangible production and his Week 1 opportunity was equal to both Cooks and Kupp, but Woods will naturally find Peterson the most often in coverage), Sam Bradford (he struggled at home against a Washington defense that isn’t as strong this Rams defense)
If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play): Ricky Seals-Jones (the results never got there last week, but he played 92.5 percent of the snaps, ran 35 routes and had an end zone target Week 1 while the Rams where the type of TE/RB target funnel we projected they’d be a week ago)
Lions @ 49ers
|61.0%||32||Opp. Rush %||45.1%||23|
|39.0%||1||Opp. Pass %||54.9%||10|
- Alfred Morris played 34 snaps Week 1 while Matt Breida played 30.
- After ranking 31st in points allowed per game to opposing backfields in 2017, the Lions allowed 32.8 points to the Jets backfield in Week 1.
- George Kittle was targeted on 29.0 percent of his routes Week 1, the third-highest rate for all tight ends Week 1.
- Per Pro Football Focus, Jimmy Garoppolo was under pressure for 50 percent of his Week 1 dropbacks, the highest rate in the league.
- The last time the Lions won in San Francisco was Week 7, 1975, a span of 11 consecutive games. The most consecutive streak of losses by a visiting team in San Francisco franchise history.
- Marvin Jones has caught more than four passes in just 1-of-12 games played with Kenny Golladay active.
- Lions running backs ran for a league-low 2.62 yards per carry Week 1 while San Francisco allowed the second-fewest yards per carry to backfields at 3.04 yards.
Trust (spike starting production): Jimmy Garoppolo (after facing one the league’s best pass defenses on the road, he draws a home start against a team that just allowed 34 offensive points to a team led by the youngest starting quarterback in NFL history), George Kittle (this would feel like chasing points in many scenarios since Kittle’s big opening week came in a game in which the primary San Francisco wideouts were shut down, but Kittle has now been the TE7, TE2 and the TE5 over his past three games played while Detroit fields one the worst coverage linebacking units in the league), Golden Tate (he drew a team-high 15 targets Week 1 and gets his second advantageous matchup in a row inside against a San Francisco secondary that allowed Adam Thielen to damage them from the slot a week ago), Matthew Stafford (it’s hard to be worse than Stafford was Monday Night, but his resume and surrounding wideouts are strong enough for us to buy a bounce back against a pass defense that was 25th in passing points allowed per game a year ago and then was 21st to open the season while he's bounced back to throw for over 400-yards in each of his past two games following a game in which he threw three or more interceptions)
On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline): Alfred Morris/Matt Breida (there won’t be many weeks where both can be usable FLEX options, but as a home favorite against a defense that may have actually gotten worse defending the run from a year ago is as good of a place as any to work them into spots you need production from), Pierre Garcon (he led the wideouts in targets and left a potential touchdown on the field last week while getting a bump with Marquise Goodwin sidelined) Kenny Golladay(he collected a career-high 12 targets a week ago and is the true X receiver on a roster that has no functionality running the football), Theo Riddick (he led the Detroit backfield in touches Week 1 with nine and the passing volume should be on the high-end side once again)
Bust (underperformance): Marvin Jones (he actually led the Lions in air yards Week 1 despite the target gap from he and the other wideouts, but his production dip with Golladay on the field is noticeable at this point while he’s the type of clashing/straight-line wideout that Richard Sherman has had success against), Kerryon Johnson (LeGarrette Blount’s knee injury opens the door for Johnson to get more opportunity, but there’s marginal faith in Detroit establishing a ground game against anyone, let alone as a road dog)
If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play): Dante Pettis (he was already cutting into Trent Taylor’s total reps and slot snaps Week 1, running 15 routes from the slot, catching 2-of-3 targets for 61 yards and a touchdown and will now start for Goodwin in a game in which Garoppolo is on the board as a QB1)
Raiders @ Broncos
|43.3%||19||Opp. Rush %||29.1%||5|
|56.7%||14||Opp. Pass %||70.9%||28|
- Denver running back Week 1 snap count: Royce Freeman 29, Phillip Lindsay 26, Devontae Booker 19.
- Lindsay received a carry or target on 69.2 percent of his snaps, the highest rate for any back with 15 or more snaps played in Week 1.
- 66.7 percent of Freeman's rushing attempts came with eight or more defenders in the box, the highest rate for any running back in Week 1.
- The highest Derek Carr has finished in seven career starts against the Broncos is QB17, averaging 10.7 points per game.
- Amari Cooper has had 33 receiving yards or fewer in 13 of his past 21 games played and has reached 70-yards in just three of those games.
- Cooper has caught 17-of-37 targets for 160 yards and two touchdowns in six career games versus the Broncos.
- Jared Cook’s 180 receiving yards in Week 1 were a franchise record for a tight end, besting Todd Christensen’s 173 yards in Week 12, 1986.
Trust (spike starting production): Emmanuel Sanders (his strong preseason carried over into Week 1 when he was targeted a team-high 11 times and his newfound slot role heightened his efficiency as he reeled in 10 of them. He’ll match up with 33-year old Leon Hall this weekend)
On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline): Demaryius Thomas (not to be forgotten, Thomas saw 10 targets a week ago as this passing game is still funneled through two players), Case Keenum (despite three turnovers, he still turned in a QB13 scoring week while he draws another home game against another soft defense), Royce Freeman (even with telegraphed usage and running into heavy fronts, he led all running backs with double-digit carries in rate of runs to go for five or more yards. he sets up well as a home favorite once again against a defense that allowed the sixth-most rushing yards in Week 1, but he is touchdown-needy given his lack of receiving opportunity), Jared Cook (a lot of his Week 1 performance lines up with how the game plan could go here against the defense that allowed the highest share of the fantasy scoring against them to come from the tight end position a year ago and allowed Seattle tight ends to post 4-116-1 in Week 1, but also keep in mind that was also true a year ago when Cook totaled four catches for 48 yards on 13 targets in two games against Denver)
Bust (underperformance): Derek Carr (this Denver pass defense isn’t what it once was, but Carr has been the QB15 or lower in 10 consecutive games played while finishing as a QB1 in just seven of his past 25 games played), Amari Cooper (the Raiders moved him around the most we’ve seen, with him running 45 percent of his routes from the slot, but that will only draw him Chris Harris this week), Marshawn Lynch (he got his touchdown a week ago to mask 49 total yards while Denver held him to 79 rushing yards on 33 carries a year ago), Jalen Richard (he was second on the team with 11 targets last and while the game script could induce a similar performance that we saw in Week 1, you have to rely on jailbreak outcomes as he had 49 yards and five catches in the fourth quarter of a busted game), Jordy Nelson (playing with Carr was a lot like playing with Brett Hundley for Nelson, he saw just four targets and posted just 23 yards, his 10th consecutive game played with fewer than 40-yards receiving)
If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play): Phillip Lindsay (has a potential inline to a hybrid role after a strong preseason earned him a tie for the team in rushing attempts, but he still needs Devontae Booker to completely clear out as he ran just eight pass routes -behind both Booker and Freeman- because he’s unlikely to see goal line touches)
Patriots @ Jaguars
|47.9%||26||Opp. Rush %||37.1%||11|
|52.1%||7||Opp. Pass %||62.9%||22|
- Phillip Dorsett played 57 snaps, ran 37 routes and saw seven targets (catching all for 66 yards and a TD) Week 1. All were high marks over any game from the 2017 season.
- Rex Burkhead played 37 snaps and totaled 19 touches in Week 1, both highs while he's been with the Patriots.
- Rob Gronkowski caught 4-of-4 targets for 98 yards and a touchdown on throws 15-yards or further in Week 1.
- Since the start of the 2015 season, Gronkowski's 16.9 yards per reception is the highest yards per catch rate for all players in the league with at least 75 or more total receptions.
- The Jaguars wide receiver route and target count from Week 1: Keelan Cole 32:4, Donte Moncrief 31:5 and Dede Westbrook 23:6.
- Moncrief totaled 99 air yards on those targets while Westbrook had 69 and Cole had 39.
Trust (spike starting production): Rob Gronkowski (he caught just 1-of-3 targets for 21 yards before exiting in the second quarter of last year’s matchup, but over his past seven full games played, he’s averaged 24.6 points per game, catching 50 passes for 784 yards and seven touchdowns)
On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline): Tom Brady (even in what will be his hardest start of the year, he had 19.6 points in this matchup a year ago in AFC Title game with Gronk playing just 26 snaps), T.J. Yeldon (he has been the RB6, RB38, RB31 and RB17 with Fournette out and the Patriots allowed 145 total yards to the Houston backfield to start the year after allowing 148.2 per game in 2017, which was 24th in the league)
Bust (underperformance): Chris Hogan (despite just one catch a week ago, he still led the Patriots in snaps and routes a week ago, but he needs to find the end zone against this secondary), Phillip Dorsett (as promising as his Week 1 was, using him here when he’ll find A.J. Bouye for the majority of his snaps is a bridge too far), Rex Burkhead (his large snap share was aided by Jeremy Hill’s injury, but we need him to regain more pass involvement over additional rushing volume), Blake Bortles (he’s at home for a slight boost, but was just the QB20 to start the year in a much better matchup while he was back to the conservative and inefficient usage that he opened and closed last season with), Keelan Cole/Donte Moncrief (Moncrief has the better individual draw, but not anticipating Bortles to deliver bug numbers makes it hard to love either boundary option)
If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play): James White (he led the team in targets Week 1 while the Patriots shouldn’t be expected to run the ball well after their backfield rushed 13 times for 43 yards in this matchup a year ago at home), Dede Westbrook (if there’s a Jaguars wide receiver to chase, I’d lean Westbrook in the slot with safety Patrick Chung taking on that assignment due to injuries in the New England secondary while Westbrook’s usage per route was the highest of the group)
Giants @ Cowboys
|45.2%||24||Opp. Rush %||52.5%||29|
|54.8%||9||Opp. Pass %||47.5%||4|
- The last time that Eli Manning was a QB1 versus the Cowboys was Week 12 of 2014, finishing as the QB24 or lower in five of those six meetings since.
- Odell Beckham ran 35.9 percent of his routes from the slot in Week 1 per Pro Football Focus. His rate of slot routes over his first three full seasons was 20.7 percent, 25.8 percent and 15.3 percent.
- Dallas has scored one offensive touchdown or fewer in six of their past nine games played and in three consecutive games dating back to last season.
- Dak Prescott has now finished in the back half of weekly quarterback scoring in nine of his past 11 games played after doing so just five times over the first 22 games of his career.
- This matchup has gone under the game total in four games since Prescott became the starter for the Cowboys.
- Cole Beasley posted 73 yards on eight targets Week 1 while the remainder of the Dallas wide receivers posted 62 yards receiving on 11 targets.
Trust (spike starting production): Odell Beckham (returned like he never missed a beat while new Head Coach Pat Shurmur was intelligent enough to utilize him effectively throughout formations), Saquon Barkley (he saw 18 touches on the ground with six targets through the air, third on the team, while he’ll get a softer matchup against a Dallas team that allowed 4.8 YPC to Carolina backs in Week 1, an equally challenged team on the offensive line to what the Giants put out weekly), Ezekiel Elliott (last week was always going to tough for high-yardage in Carolina, but he led all running backs in snap rate Week 1 and returns home as a favorite)
On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline): Sterling Shepard (he’ll also benefit with Beckham moving around more, giving him more outside opportunities to make plays while he’ll still play inside most of the group, where he’ll face off with Anthony Brown)
Bust (underperformance): Evan Engram (had just eight catches for 98 yards total in the two games versus these teams a year ago without Beckham either game to soak away volume while he was fourth in the target pecking order to start the season), Eli Manning (on the road with a low team total against a division rival that he hasn’t had much success against, you’re looking for a Beckham breakout game to raise the tide), Dak Prescott (expecting this game to be a low-scoring affair, he has failed to find a usable floor even with his rushing ability while Dallas is now relying on Beasley to do the lifting in this passing game for him)
If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play): Cole Beasley (it’s not exciting, but he’s now averaged 15.9 points per game in his past four games with Dez Bryant not in the Dallas lineup and is the only receiver with tangible in-game rapport with Prescott)
Seahawks @ Bears
|44.4%||21||Opp. Rush %||30.5%||8|
|55.6%||12||Opp. Pass %||69.5%||25|
- Russell Wilson has been a QB1 in eight consecutive primetime games, averaging 23.7 points per game. He's been either the QB1 or QB2 in overall scoring in four of his past five Monday Night games, averaging 27.2 points per game.
- Wilson’s average depth of target has gone from 8.2 yards, to 9.0, 9.0. 10.4 and opened this season at 11.3 yards over the past five seasons.
- Wilson has been sacked three or more times in 10 games since the start of last season, tied with Jacoby Brissett for the most in the league.
- Will Dissly was the first tight end to have 100-yards receiving in his first career game since Bob Trumpy in 1968.
- Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny played 25 snaps each Week 1.
- Jordan Howard ran more pass routes (23) in Week 1 than he did in any game over the 2017 season.
- After starting Week 1 by completing 8-of-9 passes for 99 yards (11.0 Y/A) through two drives,
Mitchell Trubisky completed 15-of-26 passes for 72 yards (2.8 Y/A) for the rest of the game.
- Per Pro Football Focus, Seattle’s starting cornerbacks Tre Flowers and Shaquill Griffin combined to allow 14-of-18 targets to be completed in their coverage for 167 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1.
Trust (spike starting production): Jordan Howard (him being the RB18 and scoring over 15 points without a touchdown is an extremely positive development and now he’s a home favorite against a defense that allowed 146 yards rushing to Denver backs to open the season, the third-most in the league), Russell Wilson (going against a defense that essentially allowed the QB5 in Week 1 over a half of football, Wilson has transformed into a mad-bomber/splash play quarterback over the past year plus, leading all of football with 16 touchdown passes on throws 15-yards or further downfield since the start of last season with two more in Week 1)
On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline): Tyler Lockett (he ran 67 percent of his routes from the slot in Week 1 where the Bears had a tough time containing Randall Cobb a week ago), Allen Robinson (he led all Chicago players with seven targets and all three of Seattle’s boundary corners got absolutely destroyed a week ago by Denver, but overall volume and quarterback play concerns linger from vaulting Robinson up beyond a fringe WR2/high WR3 option), Trey Burton (his Week 1 bottom line was a disappointment, but he still played 87 percent of the team snaps, ran the seventh-most routes for all tight ends in the league and was second on the team in targets, better days will stem from that type of usage, but carries the same lingering peripheral concerns that Robinson does)
Seahawks RBs (Pete Carroll has suggested he’s going to give Chris Carson more work this week after a dead even split with Rashaad Penny, but you don’t want to chase those touches coming from this rushing unit as a road dog against this Bears defensive front), Will Dissly (we’ve likely already seen the best game of his career as he played the same amount of snaps as Nick Vannett while running fewer routes), Tarik Cohen (seeing Howard out-target Cohen Week 1 while the Bears are set up as a home favorite this week is troubling that he’ll be used sparingly again this week), Mitchell Trubisky (the rushing juice is a weekly positive and he was great when on-script last week, but then completely lost when off-script while the Bears may be in a spot as a home favorite to not lean on him)
If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play): Brandon Marshall (his faux-revenge game tour continues as this is Marshall’s first game against the Bears since leaving them in 2014, he led all Seattle wideouts in targets a week ago while Wilson is going to give him chances to win contested catch situations)
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