Week 1 is in the books and it was a lot of fun. Touchdowns were scored in bunches and we saw multiple upsets, including a double-digit underdog in the Bucs taking down the Saints. This week kicks off with a Thursday night matchup between two teams who started the season off with a win, Cincinnati and Baltimore. This divisional matchup will be played in Cincinnati and betting markets project this to be an extremely close game with spreads varying from a point towards the Bengals or Ravens. The Bengals are coming off a road win over Indianapolis while the Ravens bulldozed an embarrassing Bills squad 47-3 at home. If you are interested in ending up on the sharp side of this game and looking to go much more in-depth, Evan Silva does a great job breaking it down in his Matchups Column.
Derek Carr called out by Jon Gruden
Carr initially received a vote of confidence from Gruden at the press conference after Monday nights’ 33-13 loss to the Rams and specifically said, “(I) don’t have any doubts that Derek Carr is going to be great and I can’t wait to get started and get ready for the Broncos.” However, after going back through and watching the All-22 game film, he seemed to have some different thoughts and said “(Amari) Cooper was open deep, he was open a couple times. For whatever reason, we didn't go there."
When coaches start publicly calling out their quarterback it’s generally not a good thing. It’s possible that Gruden has become used to speaking his thoughts after so many years as an analyst, but yikes. If Carr turns in another poor performance this week against the Broncos -- which I expect to happen -- will Gruden consider benching him? The thought will likely cross Gruden’s mind, but turning over the reins of your offense to career game-manager A.J. McCarron isn’t something that should be done purposely.
Even if Carr doesn’t play poorly I expect the Broncos to win the game, causing further scrutiny to be aimed in both Gruden and Carr’s direction. In the first two games of the season when playing at home, the Broncos are 32-3 in their last 35 games and 20-1 since moving to their new stadium. Early in the season the altitude gives them a major advantage over teams training the entire summer closer to sea-level. It showed in the Seattle game as their players looked noticeably more tired towards the end of the game. Beyond this intriguing trend, the Broncos also have a better all-around team. If the Raiders lose this game, it’ll be interesting to see if they unravel even further from their offseason peak of hiring the 10-year, $100M man.
Leonard Fournette expected to play
After injuring his hamstring against the Giants and being sidelined the rest of the game, his Week 2 status against the Patriots was in serious question. ESPN's Josina Anderson believes he will play, even if he isn’t able to practice throughout the week. This creates a tricky situation for those with Fournette on their fantasy teams because he could potentially be sidelined after any re-aggravation of the injury. Beyond that, his workload is unknown and will likely be cut down from his usual 15+ carries. If you have a viable top-24 option at running back I would likely sit Fournette for him, otherwise you are pretty much praying for a touchdown. RB T.J. Yeldon figures to play a substantial role especially in the passing game with Fournette banged up but isn’t much more than a back-end flex play.
Mike Wallace to be more involved?
After not catching a pass in Week 1, QB Nick Foles said he wants to get WR Mike Wallace more involved going forward. Wallace saw a minimal three targets but actually lead the team in air yards with 109. This week is an intriguing spot for him with the Bucs losing CB Vernon Hargreaves for the season and likely to be without CB Brent Grimes again. They Bucs allowed a 72 percent passing success rate in Week 1 against the Saints, 28 percent higher than last year’s 44 percent league average and might have the league’s worst secondary this week. Wallace will be open down the field, the question will be whether or not Foles can hit him. I think they connect on at least one deep pass this week, making Wallace a potential tournament play in Daily fantasy formats.
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Joey Bosa Out indefinitely
After being gashed by Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense in Week 1 for 38 points, the Chargers were looking forward to the potential return of DE Joey Bosa in Week 2. This doesn’t look like it will be the case with ESPN’s Adam Schefter mentioning he won’t be available against the Bills and could be out “even possibly longer.” Luckily the Chargers are playing the woeful Bills and should be able to skate by without the help of their star defender. Bills RB LeSean McCoy still doesn’t interest me in daily fantasy despite a projected significant workload against a Bosa-less defense.
Vance McDonald (foot) returned to a full practice on Wednesday. He wasn’t able to play in Week 1 but should be able to give it a go in Week 2. He is a high-upside, high-risk play in a projected shootout against Kansas City. … David Johnson (back) was limited in Wednesday’s practice. Johnson should be good-to-go in Week 2 but the Cardinals head into the game as double-digit underdogs, meaning he will likely have to catch a lot of passes to put up fantasy points. … Raiders placed DT Justin Ellis (foot) on injured reserve. This is another blow to Oakland’s defense that got ripped by Todd Gurley in week 1. Oakland’s defense is looking questionable at best moving forward. …Cardinals QB Sam Bradford wants to get Chad Williams and Christian Kirk more involved in the Cardinals' passing game. Bradford is just hoping to get anyone other than Larry Fitzgerald “involved” after struggling immensely in Week 1. …Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) missed Wednesday's practice. His injury is incredibly minor and he will be good to go for Sunday’s game against the Chiefs. … Aaron Rodgers won’t commit to playing in Sunday's game against the Vikings. Rodgers is “taking it one day at a time” this week but will likely try and give it a go. If he does play, he will not be anywhere near 100 percent. …Marlon Mack (hamstring) remained limited at Wednesday's practice. Mack is trying to return from a preseason hamstring injury which caused him to miss Week 1. If he’s able to get in a full practice we are confident he will suit up this week. …Will Fuller (hamstring) remained limited at Wednesday's practice. Fuller will likely return this week against Tennessee and will provide some much-needed help on deep passes. … Head coach Mike Vrabel said that "barring a setback" Marcus Mariota (elbow) should be "good to go" for Week 2 against the Texans. Mariota will suit up and play in the divisional matchup, but hasn’t looked good through limited action in the regular season and preseason. … Ravens placed RB Kenneth Dixon on injured reserve with a knee injury. If Alex Collins standing was ever in question, this solidifies it. The oft-injured Dixon has now missed 20-of-33 games. … DeSean Jackson (concussion, shoulder) is not practicing Wednesday. Jackson is likely to sit, making Chris Godwin an intriguing play in daily fantasy this Week.