Reid here about to go over a few games with some big fantasy football implications for a couple of players and how you can take advantage of it.
Let’s get right into some of these games and why I like some specific fantasy options…
As I wrote before on my Hot Take Tuesday article, you all know that I absolutely LOVE Ricky Seals-Jones this week. I think it’s important to flush out exactly why I like RSJ so much this week. Let’s start with Jermaine Gresham not being expected to play. Him not playing eliminates another obstruction to RSJ’s target share and snaps. Second, RSJ actually plays a high % of snaps as well as ran the 9th most routes for TE’s last week, despite Arizona having no sustained offense whatsoever and them running a scratch over 50 plays last week. The big factor here is that Mark Barron is still going to be out for this game. I believe it is critical for the Rams to figure out how to pass defend from the linebacking position with Barron out of the lineup. Again, Jared Cook torched this unit 180 yards on 9 catches last week. The other thing is that the Rams are 13-point favorites and this game could easily entail the Cardinals just airing it out in hopes of playing catchup.
So this game has a lot going on in terms of fantasy importance so I guess we can start with the home team. Devonta Freeman is unlikely to play this week, making Tevin Coleman easily a top-10 fantasy play. Julio Jones saw 44% of all passing targets last week from Matt Ryan and also has a history of torching the Panthers secondary. This will conflict with how Steve Sarkisian is still an awful OC and does ridiculous things like pulling Julio off the field for four straight plays in the red zone. Julio also saw the most air yards of any receiver in the NFL during Week 1.
Now the Carolina side of things is interesting. They have multiple starters on the OL who are out, as well as TE Greg Olsen. With Olsen being out, it actually makes, in theory, both Devin Funchess and Christian McCaffrey fantasy studs this week. With no Olsen last season, Funchess was roughly 2 more targets per game than when Olsen was in the lineup. McCaffrey is also a clear beneficiary here as he saw 35% of all targets from Cam Newton in Week 1. It’s important to note that McCaffrey will be an animal this week as Keanu Neal and Deion Jones will not be available for the Falcons. Missing your top safety and one of your best linebackers is going to make it difficult for the Falcons D to slow down McCaffrey.
I’m going to level with you guys right now. This game is going to be a blowout. I have no earthly idea how the Texans are only a 3-point favorite. Delanie Walker is out for the year. Marcus Mariota is NOT healthy and HC Mike Vrabel said earlier this week that he expects both Mariota and Blaine Gabbert to see time. I am not sure how anyone can take that statement seriously and expect the Titans to put up points. And to make matters worse, Tennessee will have to protect whatever QB is in the game from JJ Watt using backup tackles as both their starting LT and RT have been ruled OUT this week. I’m sitting all Titans this week (including Dion Lewis) because this game should be a blowout and I expect the starters to get pulled before the 4th quarter starts.
As for Houston, Will Fuller V is expected to be good to go, DeAndre Hopkins is battling through a foot ailment but is also expected to play. I think Deshaun Watson has an OK bounce back game but nothing too crazy (18/29 210 yards 2 TD’s). For me, the obvious stud in this game is Lamar Miller and I don’t think it’s close. Miller tallied 98 yards on just 20 carries last week against the Patriots. Add in the 3 targets in the passing game Miller has averaged while in the Bill O’Brien offense and it’s hard for me not to love Miller where the game script should have them pounding the rock for most of the second half after getting to an early lead.
There’s a lot to unpack for this game so let’s start with the Eagles who had Nelson Agholor post one of the post impressive stat lines I’ve ever seen from a WR (8 receptions for 33 yards). That is too aggressive for even Jarvis Landry to handle. Week 1 was a slow start for Zach Ertz only having 5 catches, but he also had 10 targets which is very encouraging. The injury to Alshon Jeffrey should keep Ertz as a top-5 TE this week where Nick Foles will have to utilize him in the passing game. Another injury occurred when Darren Sproles, who saw 29 snaps last week (Yup. Just confirmed. It is in fact 2018 and Darren Sproles is seeing 29 offensive snaps in a game with 21 routes.) will be out this week. This should allow for Jay Ajayi to get more carries, and Doug Pederson even said earlier this week that they need to get Ajayi more carries and volume (Thank god). If you’re desperate for a flex play, I actually like Corey Clement quite a bit this week. As I noted before, Sproles ran 21 routes last week and he’s not available. Ajayi, while the lead back, is not really a pass-catching RB and should mean Clement gets more touches in the passing game this week. For those of you playing DFS, Mike Wallace recorded the most air yards of any Eagles WR last week and could take advantage of the multitude of injuries the Bucs have in their secondary.
As for Tampa, good God, Dirk Koetter had some pretty bad takes when it comes to analytics and using them for formulating a winning plan on gameday. For now, let’s focus on MB’s new god in Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitz has always had wow games (usually followed by ‘sweet mother of God this is awful’ games) and the Saints defense was a prime target for regression this year anyways. That being said, the Eagles come with a little more punch in the secondary (and experience) that should slow down Tampa in the passing game. For those of us all week getting on the Chris Godwin hype train this week, Desean Jackson being fully cleared to play is going to put a damper on things. I also look at how Mike Evans dominated last week and saw 27% of all targets from Fitzmagic last week. As a Buffalo guy, I’ve seen plenty of Fitzmagic for one lifetime to know that he LOVES trusting both his arm and his receivers to make “jump ball” plays. I agree with him that he should trust Evans, Godwin, and Jackson to make plays. His arm? That’s a completely different discussion. As for Peyton Barber, our own Rudy Gamble has his projected to finish Week 2 as RB19 (you should check out his projections and new Stackonator for DFS and year-long formats). I think using Barber as your RB2 is still an acceptable play, especially if you have to sit someone like Devonta Freeman due to injury.
I’m going to start with the Lions here because this game is a whirlwind of emotion. Detroit… did not have a good opening to the season. You all know how I feel regarding Matt Patricia as a HC (Honest question: What the hell is he doing with that pencil in his ear? The god damn sheet he holds is laminated. You can’t write with pencil on that. Is it for show? Who is he trying to impress with that pencil? Wouldn’t glasses be better? I’m so confused about that trash pencil). As for the players, the RB’s are once again a war zone for fantasy purposed. Kerryon Johnson is easily the most talented of the group. Theo Riddick still sees more than enough targets in the screen and underneath passing game to lower the other RB’s fantasy value. LeGarrette Blount is battling injury and may not start, allowing us to see an actual performance from Johnson so long as the game doesn’t get out of hand right away. Golden Tate secured 29% of the targets from their Week 1 blowout loss to the Jets as well as having 15 targets. What was encouraging (and I guess discouraging if you’re a Marvin Jones Jr owner) is that Kenny Golladay raked in 12 targets to put up a 7 catch/114 yard performance that was more known for his massive hit after another Matt Stafford INT. While Jones Jr did see 8 targets, that has to be concerning for those who have exposure to him. I expect this to be a shootout, so I think all 3 WR’s might actually be playable (ranked in order of Tate, Golladay, Jones Jr respectively).
As for the 49ers, Jimmy Garoppolo (forever will be referred to as Jimmy GQ because he’s so ridiculously good-looking and dreamy) had a rough game at Minnesota (will be saying that about a lot of QB’s this year). While the injury to Marquise Goodwin is troublesome, it opens up opportunities for two of my favorite players/sleepers this year in Dante Pettis and George Kittle. Kittle led the team in target share last week with 26% of the targets. I’m expecting him to get between 8-11 targets this week with Goodwin out and Kyle Shanahan looking to put up an offensive bonanza this week. As for Dante Pettis, He only saw 5 targets last week in a tough matchup where Minnesota has arguably the top secondary in the league. This is a rookie that SF moved up significantly for in the draft, and Shanahan will put him all over the field to get more targets and receptions. It was significant to see that Alfred Morris and Matt Breida were essentially a 50-50 split in terms of carries. I can see the argument for starting either in the Flex spot this week if you have rough options elsewhere.
That’s it for the preview of games with some interesting fantasy implications. Don’t hesitate to comment below. Thanks for reading and make sure you check out all of the tools Razzball has put together to help you win your week and league.