Well that was a weird week. When Corey Coleman outscores both Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham, and Justin Hardy outscores Julio, you know it’s time to sit back, and ask ourselves, what on Earth went wrong?
I’d like to take this time in the intro to talk about the most important aspect of Fantasy Football: Patience.
Championships aren’t won at the draft, and they are certainly not won during the first two weeks of the NFL season. We have to have patience when deciding who to add, who to cut, and who to trade for or trade away. We have to have patience, and think for the long term. Take Coby Fleener, for instance. Right now, many are cutting him, trading him, and giving up all hope. I am confident, without a single doubt in my mind, that Coby Fleener is a Top-10, maybe even still a Top-5 TE on the year. Remember, this is a guy that looked solid with Dwayne Allen in Indy, really stellar without Allen (due to injury), and someone the Saints paid over the offseason. They did that for a reason. Now, Brees has come out and said that they are slowly building chemistry, and they can’t wait until it blooms. And unfortunately for us, it means rostering him and waiting.
Just how last year, we waited and struggled through Ben Watson’s 5/81 through Week 3.
He finished the year with 74 catches for 825 yards. Patience is the key to winning at Fantasy Football.
Start of the Week: Ezekiel Elliott, HB Dallas
Proj: 12.66 std pts./13.45 0.5ppr pts./14.24 ppr pts.
Let’s put it this way, Elliott hasn’t lived up to his expectations for the year. However, it’s only Week 3, and Elliott gets a very good matchup against the Bears on SNF. The poor play from Elliott can be directly traced to the dismal showing of the Cowboys O-Line for these first few weeks, failing to generate any openings against New York and Washington. But now, the O-Line, and the ‘Boys offense in general, gets a great chance to rebound, or continue their successes against what is shaping up to be one of the worst front seven’s in the entire NFL. Also, they will most likely be without Eddie Goldman or Lamar Houston.
‘Zeke has had some tough sledding in the early going’s, but this is likely to change, and he gets a great first start this week. In a game that is likely to be a blowout, I don’t think Jason Garrett or Scott Linehan shy’s away from giving Elliott 15-20 (or even more than 20) touches once the game gets out of control with Brian Hoyer on the opposing sideline.
Sorry for the short analysis here for the Start of the Week, but I don’t need to give much reasoning here. It’s the 4th overall pick versus a very bad rush defense with help from one of the best offensive lines in football, regardless of recent play.
Fire ’em up with confidence…
Well, after a week in which he lost Keenan Allen for the year, and during the same game in which Danny Woodhead was lost for the season, it did not seem to faze Rivers. In fact, Rivers has still managed to rank 5th out of all QB’s so far in total QBR, in addition to his very impressive 70% completion rate. At first look, the Colts defense doesn’t look half-bad, but let’s dig a little deeper. On paper, Trevor Siemian did not have a very good game last week. But what is that a testament to, a poor showing from Siemian, or Kubiak’s philosophy of pound the ball and rely on your defense, an offense that is not pass-oriented? I’ll take the latter, as this is a secondary that once again will possibly be without Vontae Davis and OLB Trent Cole, and gave up 340 yards and 3 TD’s to one John Matthew Stafford in Week 1.
After Week 3, this will be the perfect time to sell high on Matty Ice, as over the course of the next three weeks, he’ll have the pleasure of facing Carolina, Denver, and Seattle. Yikes. But we haven’t gotten to that point just yet, and building off of another strong week against Oakland last Sunday, he’ll get to tee it off against a New Orleans secondary that once again will be without CB Delvin Breaux, and possibly S Kenny Vaccaro. Yes, their defense as a whole looked improved last week against the Giants. Or did they? Yes, Manning did not throw for a TD, but if Odell could have caught that one pass, and maybe the addition of a pass or two, you’re adding 12 fantasy points (or 8, depending on the league) to a day where Manning threw for over 350 yards.
Let’s face facts. Arian Foster is out, Jay Ajayi is okay, and Kenyan Drake is not a featured back. Long story short, Ryan Tannehill is their best rusher, and we may see him throw the ball against a Cleveland D and Secondary that has looked very suspect thus far, and has had Carson Wentz and Joe Flacco turn in very good fantasy days against them thus far. With DeVante Parker looking primed to officially start his 2016 season with a bang, a constantly producing Jarvis Landry, and a nice sleeper candidate in Week 3 for the likes of Jordan Cameron. Based on matchup and volume alone, this is a great spot for Tannehill in another game under Adam Gase.
Cousins has looked downright terrible through the first two weeks, and I’m not expecting for it to get any better for him against a very tough Giants secondary on the road that has virtually shut down both the Cowboys and Saints offenses thus far (yes, I know they have given up some TD’s, but regardless, they’ve played very well). Simply put, there are plenty of other options, and Kirk has looked downright droppable now, the question is, what is your patience as a fantasy owner?
First off, Tyrod Taylor’s upside as a QB comes from the deep ball and those signature 70-yard bombs. This directly goes against Bruce Arians, whose defensive coaching philosophy is to be conservative and play it safe. I don’t think Taylor is going to get one of those opportunities. I could be wrong, but it is extremely not likely for it to happen. Also, Tyrod might possibly be without Sammy Watkins, as he has missed practice all week. None of these are good signs, and this is a tough matchup in general. There are plenty of other options, and Taylor is not one of them this Sunday.
Make no mistake, Carson Wentz has looked very good through two weeks, but I think that ends Sunday against Pittsburgh. This is a front seven and linebacker corps that has had great success in getting to the QB, and according to Football Outsiders, they rank 6th in the NFL in rush defense. Their secondary is very solid as well, only giving up close to 20 fpts per game. Wentz has looked solid thus far, but let’s keep it in perspective: he faced the Browns and Bears. This week, he’ll match up against the very solid Pittsburgh D that should shut down all aspects of the passing game for Wentz.
Frank Gore (vs. SD) – Proj: 14.17 std pts./15.61 0.5ppr pts./17.05 ppr pts.
Gore turned in a very decent Week 2 performance against the Denver Broncos, scoring a TD through the air. However, that was the Broncos, and they did a good job in stopping Indy’s rush game as a whole. This is a different story against the Chargers Sunday. According to Football Outsiders, San Diego has the worst rush defense in all of football, a perfect 32/32. With Jason Verrett and other pieces of this Chargers secondary likely shutting down Phillip Dorsett and T.Y. Hilton in the abscence of Donte Moncrief, this should open up some holes for Gore, as the workload and touches have been, and will be there Sunday against this putrid Rush D.
Trust me, Ingram has not had a very consistent start to the 2016 season, yet facts are facts, and Ingram is a bellcow running back. Yes, Travaris Cadet has done some fine work to generate PPR results, but aside from that, this teams lacks a true 3rd-down back, and therefore, Ingram has had very high snap counts through 2 weeks. He has faced some decent rush defenses, but this Saints front seven looks pretty bad. Especially if you consider they might be without OLB De’Vondre Campbell in this matchup, this is a defense that ranks 23rd in the NFL against the run according to Football Outsiders. With a very nice workload in a game against a formidable opponent, this is the perfect rebound matchup for Ingram.
Much like Ingram, Lacy has not had a very consistent start to his 2016 season, and considering some of the hype that was building around Lacy, he has been a disappointment thus far. But oh boy, if there is every a “Lacy”-type game, this is it. At home against a Lions front seven that has surrendered 5.1 YPC through 2 games and has given up 8 catches per game this year, which brings some PPR upside to the back. But at home, the Packers offense should finally show to us what it has wanted to accomplish the first two weeks, but couldn’t against the very solid D’s in Jacksonville and Minnesota. This means that Rodgers will start to look like Rodgers, Jordy and Cobb will fit into their true forms, and Lacy will return to being dominant like he has shown in his rookie season.
This Seattle-San Francisco game has the feeling of a repeat 9-3 game that we saw last week in L.A. Hyde failed to build off of his solid showing in Week 1 against the Rams, as he only mustered a weak 2.9 YPC against Carolina in Week 2. Granted, they boast a tough front seven, however Seattle’s is still up their as well, as through 2 weeks, the Seahawks have only given up 2.4 YPC. Hyde has also done very poorly against Seattle in his career, only putting up 4 fantasy points on 11 touches last year. I want to stay away from San Francisco in general, although you wouldn’t hear any complaints from me if you wanted to stream their defense, and Hyde is at the forefront of it.
Yes, the Oakland offensive line is still good, and they should continue to open holes, but this a Tennessee rush defense that ranks 8th in the NFL against the run according to Football Outsiders, and is definitely the vocal point of their defense. Murray has also lost some work in the past few weeks with minimal touch totals. Their are better options in which to look for Sunday, and their is not much to get excited about with Murray.
Here’s the thing (with Alec Baldwin) with Yeldon. He had a very great opportunity to solidify a spot as a featured back to the Jacksonville coaching staff with one Christopher Ivory out again in Week 2. Unfortunatley for us and Yeldon, he could not have done worse (that’s unfair, he could have rushed for 0 yards). He has not proved himself to the Jaguars and the coaches this year, and with one Christopher Ivory returning soon (quite possibly Sunday), this backfield becomes very foggy, and I want no part of it.
Here’s my theory with Green. First, everyone was scared beyond belief when Green went up against Revis Island, and look what happened. Second, yes, the Denver secondary is definitely scary. However, we saw Kelvin Benjamin have success against them in Week 1. Kelvin Benjamin is 6’5. A.J. Green is 6’4, and both have a similar role in their respective offenses, as both Cam and Dalton have a habit of throwing it to them forcefully, instead of looking at other possible options. You absolutely can not bench Green, and I’m saying that you should feel confident in starting a Top-5 WR on the year.
Like I mentioned with Rivers above, this is a secondary that once again will possibly be without Vontae Davis and OLB Trent Cole, and gave up 340 yards and 3 TD’s to one John Matthew Stafford in Week 1. The Chargers are bringing a “next man up” Patriots-esque mentalitiy, and it seems to be working thus far through 2 weeks. Benjamin is a safe bet to lead San Diego in targets (in turn, receptions, yards, and TD’s), and is a fantastic play this week.
The one area Buffalo has issues with in their secondary are slot receivers, and we have seen Fitzgerald being put in the slot constantly, and this should continue for Bruce Arians and Co. Larry Fitz will look to build off of his very impressive 11-target game last week against Tampa Bay, and he draws a fantastic matchup against the Bills secondary, as they have surrendered close to 50 fpts per game in PPR scoring systems. Fitzgerald should have a very nice Sunday.
Like I mentioned above with Tannehill, we may see him throw the ball against a Cleveland D and Secondary that has looked very suspect thus far, and has had Carson Wentz and Joe Flacco turn in very good fantasy days against them thus far. After a very impressive 8/106 to start his season against the Patriots, he gets a very good matchup. Remember, this is the X receiver in Adam Gase’s offense, where we have seen players like Alshon Jeffery and Emmanuel Sanders emerge and solidify themselves among the best at their position, and this game will show to us why we were so darn confident in a breakout year for Paker in 2016.
Trust me, I’m a big believer in Jim Bob Cooter and how well the Detroit passing game has played out through 2 weeks, but I am not a believe in Golden Tate for the time being. This dates all the way back to Training Camp, in which he had seemed to lose the #1 job to Marvin Jones. Fast-forward to present day, and he has struggled greatly against what has seemed to be easy opponents. Now, he’ll get the Packers on the road, which is never a good idea. Simply put, there are better options to choose from.
Like I mentioned above, I expect Carson Wentz to struggle against a legitimate defense now, and in turn I think the Steeler’s make it their goal to shut down their top options, which starts with Jordan Matthews. Pittsburgh’s secondary is strong, their defensive front is even stronger, and this should be a long day for Wentz and Co.
T.Y. Hilton (vs. SD) – Proj: 10.79 std pts./13.46 0.5ppr pts./16.13 ppr pts.
Yes, there is always the chance that Hilton will produce, especially if/when the Colts find themselves in garbage time, but I would tamper expectations a bit. Hilton should see a lot of Jason Verrett, someone who has shut down the Packers offense to an extent, and has almost totally shut down Allen Robinson to this point. Especially if Luck is not afraid to throw the ball to other receivers, regardless of experience, much like Eli Manning, I think Dorsett can get involved, but I think it will end up being a long day for Hilton.
As I mentioned above, patience is the key to winning at Fantasy Football. Remember, this is a guy that looked solid with Dwayne Allen in Indy, really stellar without Allen (due to injury), and someone the Saints paid over the offseason. They did that for a reason. Now, Brees has come out and said that they are slowly building chemistry, and they can’t wait until it blooms, and Sean Payton is very confident things will begin to click this Monday Night against Atlanta. The Falcons are very weak against TE’s, and the matchup is one of the best (on paper) of all TE’s this week. Trust me on this for one more week, and if it doesn’t work out, you don’t have to listen to me again.
He’s doubtful to play, so even if by some miracle he does, I would find another option. He’s been consistent, but I find him having a long day with Rivers opting to more throws deep and often, exposing a weak Indy secondary without Vontae Davis again.
Matt Bryant (@ NO) – Proj: 8.20 pts.
He’s been perfect on the year, and Vegas is in his favor. With the highest O/U’s on the week, and with New Orleans only favored by so little, this game is destined to be a shootout, so it’s worth a shot for the 14-year veteran.
Cairo Santos (vs. NYJ) – Proj: 8.15 pts.
This game is likely to be a defensive struggle, and with plenty of other options on the slate, it’s just not worth it, even if he’s coming off a nice performance.
Defense & Special Teams
The stout pass rush and linebacker corps of the Cowboys will go against a very depleted Chicago O-Line that ranks as the worst against the pass rush in the NFL according to Football Outsiders; a unit that has given up the most sacks through 2 weeks, at 8 total. The Cowboys will also be facing everyone’s favorite QB to pick on, Brian Hoyer, on a short week, and they’ll be playing at Dallas. Fire ’em up with confidence.
Minnesota Vikings – Proj. 5.71 pts.
I fully believe the Vikings are a Top-5 D/ST rest of season, and their unit certainly won Minnesota the games these last few weeks against Tennessee and Minnesota, however I have to say, I don’t want to be the one facing Cam Newton and Co. at home. Find another solution, preferably the likes of Dallas or Miami (the #2 defense on the week according to the Pigskinonator).
The DFS Plays of the Week
*Note*- Below I will give three good DFS plays according to my beliefs and the projections of the DFSBot for Fanduel, DraftKings and Yahoo!
Fanduel Play of the Week
Frank Gore, $5,700 (vs. SD) – Proj. 16.8 pts
DraftKings Play of the Week
Yahoo! Play of the Week
Thanks for sticking around to the end for what is shaping up to be a great second week of the NFL season. As always, if you agree or disagree with a player above, or have a general question or comment about your team, please do not hesitate to leave one below.
Best of luck, and I’ll talk to you guys next week as we try to get your team to 4-0 on the season.
Oh, and before I forget, do you want a random hot take/bold prediction with absolutely no analysis or facts behind it?
You Can Follow Zach on Twitter @ohuhave12.