Week 3 Fantasy Football Forecast

Hayden Winks
Rotoworld

Welcome to the Fantasy Football Forecast! My goal with this weekly column is to get you actionable information as quickly as possible, regardless if you're playing season-long fantasy, DFS, or are grinding player props.  If you're just looking for fantasy football rankings and only have 10 minutes to skim through for your sit/start decisions, then head over to the "Forecast" sections below where I project each player's PPR finish based on a 12-team league. But if you want to get your research on, then I have full player breakdowns. As always, hit me up on Twitter @HaydenWinks if you have questions. 

 

Week 3 Forecast
Week 3 Forecast
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Teams are listed in order of their implied points.

Page 1: DAL, NE, KC, TB, MIN, PHI, GB, LAC, LAR, BUF

Page 2: SEA, SF, IND, ATL, BAL, ARI, CHI, HOU, CLE, NYG

Page 3: CAR, DET, NO, CIN, WAS, DEN, PIT, OAK, MIA, NYJ

TNF: TEN, JAX

 

1. Cowboys (35.0 implied team total, -22.5 point spread) vs. MIA

Forecast: Dak Prescott QB1, Amari Cooper WR1, Randall Cobb WR4, Devin Smith WR5, Jason Witten TE2, Ezekiel Elliott RB1, Tony Pollard RB4

Dak Prescott now averages 285.5 passing yards and 1.91 passing touchdowns in his 11 games with Amari Cooper, per RotoViz. The Cowboys’ analytics-based offense has vaulted him into the QB1 mix, especially at home where he’s averaged 3.5 more fantasy points during his career. Prescott should carve up this terrible Dolphins’ team to a top-five fantasy finish. This is obviously a team to stack in DFS tournaments.

DAL WK3
DAL WK3

Amari Cooper has averaged 18.14 PPR points with Dak in 11 games, and he might have more opportunity in Week 3 than he has before with Michael Gallup (knee) sidelined. His matchup with Xavien Howard is a real tough one as Ian Hartitz mapped out here, but I’m still betting on Cooper getting schemed open enough to call him a WR1. … Randall Cobb will line up against CB “Jomal Wiltz” who has 57 career snaps, and he should see an uptick in volume with Gallup sidelined and with Cooper getting Howard’s coverage. Cobb is a sneaky WR4. … Devin Smith is Gallup’s replacement as the primary deep threat. Smith has more than enough talent to make a play over the top, opening him up to the higher-ceiling WR5 mix in this home matchup. … Jason Witten is tied for the sixth-most red zone targets (4) through two weeks. That usage should scale back with Ezekiel Elliott ramping up his workload, but Witten will still be a low-end TE2 with some touchdown equity. 

Ezekiel Elliott is going to eat. The Cowboys have the highest team total (35) and the Dolphins Defense will not be down to tackle Zeke over and over again. Elliott saw his workload return to normal levels last week (25 touches), so it’s just a matter of how many touchdowns he scores. Two or three is in range. … Tony Pollard might get extra work if the Cowboys jump out to a huge lead, but he only has one target through two weeks. He maybe has low-end flex value this week, though he’s best viewed as a pure handcuff to Zeke in season-long leagues. 

 

2. Patriots (32.75, -22) vs. NYJ

Update: Removed Antonio Brown. Moved Julian Edelman into WR1/2, Josh Gordon into WR2/3, and Phillip Dorsett into WR5. 

Forecast: Tom Brady QB1, Julian Edelman WR1/2, Josh Gordon WR2/3, Phillip Dorsett WR5, Sony Michel RB2/3, James White RB2/3

Tom Brady has averaged 311 passing yards and 1.8 passing touchdowns in the 14 games with Josh Gordon. This offense is reaching unstoppable levels, and the Jets Defense is in big trouble, especially if C.J. Mosley and Quinnen Williams are ruled out again. Brady is back in the mix as a weekly high-ceiling QB1.

NE WK3
NE WK3

Julian Edelman should go back into his No. 1 receiver role with AB gone. He'll see 8-12 targets most weeks with touchdown equity, and this matchup isn't one to shy away from. Edelman is a WR1/2 in PPR leagues. … Josh Gordon’s target numbers won’t be as high as other WR2/3s, but his targets are quite valuable. He’s being targeted deep (12.7 yards downfield on average), and he has plenty of touchdown equity with these crazy-high weekly team totals. … Phillip Dorsett still carries a boom-or-bust WR5 tag. … Matt LaCosse and Ryan “Truth Hurts” Izzo are the tight ends, but they aren’t being used enough.

Week 2

S. Michel

J. White

R. Burkhead

Carries

21

3

5

Targets

0

4

2

Routes Run

5

17

8

Sony Michel has zero (0) avoided tackles on 36 touches in 2019, per PFF. He’s been really bad, but he still has the Patriots’ goal-line role and that’s all that matters for fantasy. Michel is prone to many bust weeks since he can’t catch passes and hasn’t looked explosive, but he still belongs on the RB2/3 borderline in PPR leagues with his touchdown equity. … James White is a matchup nightmare and all it takes is Bill Belichick to scheme him open for a top-20 RB finish. His usage isn’t exactly bankable, but he’s a high-ceiling RB2/3 with 6+ reception upside. … Rex Burkhead is caught between Michel and White, but he’s still starting over Damien Harris. Neither have fantasy value unless one of the two starters miss time.

 

3. Chiefs (29, -6) vs. BAL

Update: Removed Damien Williams (knee). Moved LeSean McCoy into RB1/2 range. Darwin Thompson into RB2/3.

Forecast: Patrick Mahomes QB1, Sammy Watkins WR1, Mecole Hardman WR3, Demarcus Robinson WR3/4, Travis Kelce TE1, LeSean McCoy (questionable) RB1/2, Darwin Thompson RB2/3

What do you actually want me to write about here? Patrick Mahomes is snapping necks and cashing checks. He’s the QB1 overall every week.

KC WK3
KC WK3

Tyreek Hill (collarbone) remains sidelined, so Sammy Watkins is the No. 1 receiver. Last week, Watkins might have had the bad beat of the year in fantasy since he only had 10.9 PPR points on 13 targets and 139 air yards. I’ll buy the dip if I could in season-long and will continue to call him a fantasy WR1. The usage and skill is just too damn appealing, and so is his slot matchup with 32-year-old Brandon Carr. … Mecole Hardman saw WR3 usage last week, and there’s no reason to shy away from him in Week 3. Only a dozen or so receivers have his weekly upside with Hill out. Calling Hardman a boom-or-bust WR3 is fair… Demarcus Robinson had six targets with an insane 25.3 aDOT, which led to the WR1 overall finish last week (6-172-2). The air yards are really nice, but he’ll regress big time if he doesn’t see more than six targets this week. I’m projecting Robinson for 5-7 targets, so he’s a boom-or-bust WR3/4. … Travis Kelce has been targeted five times in the red zone (tied for second in the NFL), but he somehow has zero red zone receptions. Mahomes, please chill on the no-look passes to Kelce in the end zone. Other than that, Kelce is the best fantasy tight end in the league. 

Damien Williams (knee) has been ruled out, so that means more LeSean McCoy, who returned to practice Thursday (ankle). McCoy will inherit some of Williams’ ~10 carries and ~5 targets per game, while explosive rookie Darwin Thompson gobbles up the rest. McCoy has tons of upside and belongs in the RB1 consideration as long as his health continues to progress going into Sunday. … Thompson and Darrell Williams should both get run, but Thompson is the one to target as a dart-throw flex option. He was a freak in the preseason:

 

4. Bucs (27, -6) vs. NYG

Forecast: Jameis Winston QB2, Mike Evans WR1/2, Chris Godwin WR1/2, Breshad Perriman WR5, O.J. Howard TE1/2, Peyton Barber RB3, Ronald Jones RB4/5

Jameis Winston and the Bucs offense have looked bad in both games this season --  maybe they shouldn’t have the fifth-lowest pass rate in neutral situations??? -- but the Giants’ pass rush isn’t as good as the 49ers’ or Panthers’ and the Giants’ pass coverage is the worst per PFF, making this a potential breakout spot at home. Winston is a high-ceiling QB2. 

TB WK3
TB WK3

Chris Godwin has been more productive than Mike Evans through two games, but their usage is much closer than their fantasy points would suggest. Evans actually has a higher team share of air yards (40%) than Godwin (29%). It just hasn’t translated to fantasy points yet. Evans gets Janoris Jenkins, who is seven inches shorter and 38 pounds lighter than Evans, this week, and I’m expecting WR1/2 production. Evans is an obvious buy-low target in season-long and DFS… Godwin is really good, and he’s seeing WR1/2 level usage. Godwin’s matchup with Grant Haley is one to attack, making Godwin a top-10 receiver play once again. ... Breshad Perriman has ran a route on 75% and 66% of the Bucs’ drop backs and quietly has 23% of the team’s air yards. Perriman is a cheap DFS tournament option. … O.J. Howard’s usage is very concerning. Howard was held without a target Week 2 and has only ran a route on 60% of the Bucs’ dropbacks. Bruce Arians said Howard can play “a heck of a lot better” than he has, and I obviously agree. Howard is too talented to completely drop out of the TE1 mix against a defense we’ve been targeting with tight ends for over a season now.

Week 2

P. Barber

R. Jones

D. Ogunbowale

Carries

23

4

0

Targets

1

0

1

Routes Run

10

3

10

Ronald Jones led the backfield in touches and snaps on run plays Week 1, but he lost almost all of that work to Peyton Barber in Week 2. Barber is the best bet for consistent touches since he’s not as one-dimensional, though Barber isn’t an exciting RB3 either. Dare Ogunbowale isn’t seeing enough volume to be more than a low-ceiling RB4 in games where we expect the Bucs to be trailing. Overall, it’s a backfield to avoid if possible. 

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5. Vikings (26.5, -9.5) vs. OAK

Forecast: Kirk Cousins QB2, Adam Thielen WR1/2, Stefon Diggs WR2, Kyle Rudolph TE2, Dalvin Cook RB1, Alexander Mattison RB5

Kirk Cousins and the Vikings Offense are playing pretty fast (7th in neutral-situation pace), but they are opting to take the ball out of Cousins’ hands. And with the way he’s playing, that might be the right move. The Raiders Defense is a “get right” spot, however, at least in terms of efficiency. Cousins’ projected volume keeps him in the QB2 range, even in a plus home matchup.

TB WK3
TB WK3

Even with the Vikings’ passing volume at the very bottom of the NFL, Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs are still top-20 receivers in most matchups because of the narrow target share. This week is shaping up as one of the best on the entire schedule with the Raiders’ pass coverage grading out as the 28th group, per PFF. Thielen is on the WR1/2 borderline while Diggs is a high-ceiling WR2. … Chad Beebe has run a route on just 32% of the Vikings’ dropbacks and has been targeted three times. … Kyle Rudolph is on the field for most plays, but his pass-game usage leaves a lot to be desired. He’s a low-ceiling TE2. 

Dalvin Cook and the Vikings offense have the third-highest run rate in neutral situations, and Cook is crushing it. There are only a few backs in the entire league with his rushing yards and touchdown projection, making him a no-brainer RB1. If Cook can add a few more receptions per game, watch out. … Alexander Mattison is a direct backup and remains one of the best handcuffs in fantasy. 

 

6. Eagles (26, -6) vs. DET

Update: Alshon Jeffery might play now despite not practicing. He's a zero-floor WR3/4. Nelson Agholor would drop from WR2/3 to WR3/4 if Alshon is cleared. 

Forecast: Carson Wentz QB1/2, Nelson Agholor WR2/3, JJ Arcega-Whiteside WR4, Mack Hollins WR4/5, Zach Ertz TE1, Dallas Goedert (questionable) TE2, Miles Sanders RB2/3, Jordan Howard RB4, Darren Sproles RB4

Carson Wentz will be without most of his top targets this week, and Wentz himself was also shaken up last week. The home matchup is nice, but the Lions Defense is no joke and could give the Eagles some trouble if the receivers can’t win off the line of scrimmage. Wentz deserves a top-15 ranking still, but he has a lower floor than normal. 

PHI WK3
PHI WK3

Alshon Jeffery’s (calf) status for Week 3 is in doubt and DeSean Jackson (groin) is already out, so it will likely be Nelson Agholor, rookie JJ Arcega-Whiteside, and Mack Hollins in three-receiver sets. Agholor is the most experienced and will likely do more damage underneath, while intriguing second-rounder Arcega-Whiteside and Mack Hollins work deeper downfield. Agholor will be a volume-based WR2/3 in an okay matchup with Darius Slay. The question for DFS is if Agholor is worth the chalk. … Arcega-Whiteside was insane in the red zone and downfield at Stanford last season and in the preseason a few weeks back. At 6-foot-2, 225 pounds, Arcega-Whiteside offers touchdown equity as a dart-throw WR4 who had a 22.5 aDOT last week. … Hollins saw more targets (8) than JJAW saw (4) last week, but I’m projecting that to even out given Arcega-Whiteside’s prospect profile. Hollins is still a consideration in DFS tournaments, however. … Zach Ertz saw ridiculous volume last week (see above chart) and that’s not likely to change with Jeffery, Jackson, and Dallas Goedert (questionable, calf) banged up. Ertz is an elite tight end option this week. 

Week 2

M. Sanders

J. Howard

D. Sproles

Carries

10

8

0

Targets

4

1

3

Routes Run

20

5

25

Miles Sanders is starting to separate from Jordan Howard in terms of usage, despite only avoiding one tackle on 24 touches this season. One way to get Sanders avoiding more tackles is to put him in space, and this would be a great week to get him easy targets with so many injuries out wide. Sanders is a better bet this week to emerge as a top-24 running back than he was last week. … Jordan Howard needs positive game script and touchdowns to be a flex consideration. He might get that this week at home against a mediocre Lions team, but he’ll have to overcome one of the better defensive fronts in the league. Howard is just an RB3. … Darren Sproles could also be a beneficiary of the missing production on the outside, but he’ll need a random touchdown to pay off. 

 

7. Packers (25.75, -7.5) vs. DEN

Forecast: Aaron Rodgers QB1/2, Davante Adams WR1/2, Marquez Valdes-Scantling WR4, Geronimo Allison WR5, Jimmy Graham TE2, Aaron Jones RB2, Jamaal Williams RB4

Aaron Rodgers doesn’t have a three-passing-touchdown performance in the last 12 healthy games, and he has as many sub-200 yard games (3) as he does games over 300 yards (3) over that span. It might be time to temper expectations for Rodgers in fantasy, especially since the Packers are 30th in neutral-situation pace this year. The Broncos also want to play slow (26th in neutral-situation pace), so total volume is a concern for Rodgers once again. He’s, at best, on the QB1/2 borderline.  

GB WK3
GB WK3

Davante Adams has two issues this week; The Packers Offense is 30th in neutral-situation pace (that takes away targets) and he’s lining up against Chris Harris, who limited Allen Robinson last week. This feels like a down game for Adams, so he’s sitting right outside my top-10 receivers. … Marquez Valdes-Scantling remains a near full-time player and arguably Rodgers’ best bet downfield (4.37 speed). He just hasn’t made a big play yet -- probably because he’s faced the Bears and Vikings through two weeks -- but MVS is a candidate for one against Isaac Yiadom (4.52 speed). I like MVS as a boom-or-bust WR4. … Geronimo Allison is sixth on the team in targets, and he’s only running a route on 54% of the Packers’ dropbacks. Allison could still find the end zone or make a big play, but he’s a low-volume WR5 at best for the time being. … Jimmy Graham’s Week 1 probably will go down as an outlier game in terms of production and usage. Graham can still win in the red zone, but he’s a touchdown-dependent TE2. 

Week 2

A. Jones

J. Williams

Carries

23

9

Targets

6

4

Routes Run

16

19

Coach Matt LaFleur said this week that he wants to “even up” the touches between Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams, which is amazing because Jones is averaging 4.3 YPC and Williams is averaging 2.0 YPC. Jones is the better runner, so I’m betting on Jones keeping most of his rushing volume. The receiving work might take a hit, however. Jones went from one to six targets last week, and that might be what LaFleur is talking about. In a home matchup as 7.5-point favorites, Jones is a high-end RB2 while Williams remains an RB4.

 

8. Chargers (25.5, -3) vs. HOU

Forecast: Philip Rivers QB1/2, Keenan Allen WR1, Mike Williams WR3, Travis Benjamin WR5, Austin Ekeler RB1, Justin Jackson RB4

Philip Rivers is being kept back from bigger fantasy weeks by a multitude of things, but primarily because of the Chargers’ second-slowest offensive pace. This week, he’ll get some help in that department with the Texans’ 9th-fastest offense coming to the Chargers’ soccer stadium. The Texans Defense is also more vulnerable with Clowney gone and J.J. Watt playing at a more human level. Rivers is on the QB1/2 borderline. 

LAC WK3
LAC WK3

Keenan Allen is the NFL’s air yards leader through two weeks, and he’s becoming more and more matchup proof as his career has unfolded. Allen is going to be fed targets as Rivers’ best check down option behind this porous offensive line, and he can also get downfield on occasion. Allen is a no-brainer WR1. … Mike Williams played through a knee injury last week and nearly came down with a couple of touchdown grabs. Even if he’s a little limited, Williams will see WR2/3 usage. This week’s matchup against Johnathan Joseph and Lonnie Johnson are friendly, too, so Williams is an upside WR3. … Travis Benjamin is off the radar when Allen and Williams are active and is a low-volume dart-throw when one of them misses. … The Chargers signed Lance Kendricks to help at tight end, but it’s a situation to avoid. 

Week 2

A. Ekeler

J. Jackson

Carries

17

7

Targets

6

1

Routes Run

22

7

Austin Ekeler is a modified bellcow right now. Ekeler has received 66% of the team carries, 100% of the inside-the-five carries, and 19% of the team targets. And as Ekeler always does, he’s balling out too (outside of that brutal goal-line fumble). Ekeler enters Week 3 as the RB1 overall in PPR leagues, and he’s a no-doubt RB1 against the Texans. … Justin Jackson is a handcuff to Ekeler at this point since he has 13 carries and four targets through two games. 

 

9. Rams (25.25, -3) @ CLE

Forecast: Jared Goff QB2, Cooper Kupp WR3, Robert Woods WR3, Brandin Cooks WR3, Tyler Higbee TE2, Todd Gurley RB1/2, Malcolm Brown RB3/4

Jared Goff has scored more than 17.5 fantasy points just once in his last 10 road games including the playoffs (13.4 FPPG), and his lone good game was against the Saints in a dome. Goff still has some upside in a game with a 47.5 over/under, but his home/road splits are too harsh to list him as a QB1. He’s a higher-ceiling QB2 only because of the Rams’ league-leading offensive pace in neutral situations.

LAR WK3
LAR WK3

Cooper Kupp is leading the Rams in targets through two weeks, and I kind of expect that to continue because Kupp is Goff’s go-to receiver when he feels pressured. Kupp also looks really healthy -- he was collecting ankles on his near 66-yard touchdown catch -- and might even be the best Rams’ fantasy receiver for the rest of the season. Kupp, however, is a WR3 whenever on the road. … Brandin Cooks is leading the Rams’ in air yards with a 16.6 aDOT (that’s high), but he has only been targeted six and four times. Not great. Cooks also has only averaged 11.6 PPR points in eight road games with Goff, so he’s a low-floor WR3 this week while lining up across outside CBs Greedy Williams and Denzel Ward. … Last week, Robert Woods had his lowest reception total (2) since Week 4 of 2017. It was an odd game for him and the offense in general, but Week 2’s usage will likely be an outlier, not the beginning of a new trend. Unlike Cooks, Woods doesn’t have severe home/road splits with Goff, so Woods is a slightly more-reliable WR3. … Tyler Higbee (lung) was sent to the hospital last week, but he might actually play in Week 3. He’s been a red zone target this season, though he’s nothing more than a zero-floor TE2/3 whenever healthy. Gerald Everett shouldn’t be started in fantasy if Higbee is active. 

Week 2

T. Gurley

M. Brown

D. Henderson

Carries

16

6

0

Targets

4

1

0

Routes Run

20

12

0

The Rams have a plan with Todd Gurley. It’s to limit his touches to preserve him for later in the season and the playoffs. How they plan on doing that is still up in the air through two weeks. Gurley didn’t see goal-line work and was only targeted once in Week 1. Last week, Gurley had carries from 11-, 11-, 8-, and 4-yards out and also saw four targets. That’s the high-leverage touches most expected him to see this season, even if his total volume was down. At this point, I’d (unconfidently) project Gurley to be the primary goal-line and passing-game back, which makes him an RB1/2, even on the road. … Malcolm Brown lost his valuable goal-line production in Week 2, and he won’t have any standalone value if that continues. Brown is purely a handcuff for now. … Darrell Henderson has two snaps in two games. Only hold him if you have space to. He needs a Gurley injury to have value.

 

10. Bills (25, -6) vs. CIN

Forecast: Josh Allen QB1, John Brown WR2, Cole Beasley WR4/5, Zay Jones WR5, Devin Singletary (highly questionable) RB2/3, Frank Gore RB3 if Singletary is out, T.J. Yeldon RB4/5

Josh Allen and the Bills offense have the high pass rate in neutral situations this season, and the Bengals’ pass coverage is 30th in the league per PFF. This is a blowup spot for the Bills, who have the 10th-highest team total (25) of the week, and Allen, who has averaged 6.4 more fantasy points at home in his career per RotoViz. Allen is a low-end QB1 with a great ceiling.

BUF WK3
BUF WK3

John Brown has WR1/2 usage and production through two weeks, and the Bengals’ secondary has struggled against the deep ball in Week 1 and struggled underneath in Week 2. Brown should be near the top of the leaderboard in air yards once again, making Brown a strong, high-upside WR2 this week. … Cole Beasley is Cole Beasley. He might have a few spikes in targets throughout the season, but he doesn’t run high-value routes and isn’t a big threat for a touchdown. Beasley is a WR4/5 in PPR leagues. … Zay Jones is a zero-ownership DFS tournament option in Josh Allen stacks in hopes he returns to his Week 1 air yards. … Dawson Knox has run a route on 61% of Bills’ dropbacks, but he only has two catches. The rookie is off the radar. 

Devin Singletary missed practice on Thursday, and he is believed to be trending in the wrong direction heading into Week 3. That brings Frank Gore (early downs and goal-line) and T.J. Yeldon (pass-catching) to the forefront. Gore is only averaging 2.9 yards per carry this season, but he should see 14-20 carries with goal-line chances as a 6-point favorite. Gore is an RB3, while Yeldon is a zero-floor RB4/5 in PPR leagues.

Week 3 Forecast
Week 3 Forecast

Teams are listed in order of their implied points.

Page 1: DAL, NE, KC, TB, MIN, PHI, GB, LAC, LAR, BUF

Page 2: SEA, SF, IND, ATL, BAL, ARI, CHI, HOU, CLE, NYG

Page 3: CAR, DET, NO, CIN, WAS, DEN, PIT, OAK, MIA, NYJ

TNF: TEN, JAX

 

11. Seahawks (24.75, -5) vs. NO

Forecast: Russell Wilson QB1, Tyler Lockett WR2, DK Metcalf WR3/4, Will Dissly TE2/3, Chris Carson RB1/2, Rashaad Penny RB3/4

It’s been more of the same for Russell Wilson. He’s insanely efficient (10.8 AYPA), but he’s being held back by the Seahawks’ run-first, sixth-slowest paced offense. With that said, Wilson can still pop for top-three weekly finishes in good matchups, and the Saints are just that after allowing Deshaun Watson and Jared Goff to clear QB1 finishes. Wilson is a QB1 despite volume concerns.

SEA WK3
SEA WK3

Tyler Lockett’s volume met preseason expectations last week, and he gets another great matchup inside against vulnerable slot CB P.J. Williams this week. Lockett is a high-ceiling WR2. … DK Metcalf is a beast. His size and athleticism are very apparent #OnTape, and he’s a threat for a deep touchdown every play with Russell Wilson’s deep-ball accuracy. Metcalf does have the toughest matchup on the team, but I still view him as a boom-or-bust WR4. … Jaron Brown isn’t seeing enough volume to be considered. … Will Dissly is one of the luckiest performers of 2019 so far. Dissly’s volume and routes run are average, yet he’s found the end zone twice. As someone who has heard of regression, I’m not buying last week’s production. Dissly is nothing more than a TE2/3. 

Week 2

C. Carson

R. Penny

Carries

15

10

Targets

3

1

Routes Run

19

14

Chris Carson ran like a beast last week, but he is probably one fumble away from sleeping on the couch. If not for that issue, Carson would have an even larger share of team touches. This matchup as 5-point favorites lines up well with Carson’s strengths, and he should begin to see more goal-line opportunities after only seeing one through two weeks. Carson is a riskier RB1/2. … Rashaad Penny’s outlook is a little better with Carson’s turnover issues, but he’s still not being utilized enough to warrant starting consideration in fantasy. I do like Penny as a trade target in season-long leagues, however.
 

12. 49ers (24.75, -6.5) vs. PIT

Forecast: Jimmy Garoppolo QB2, Marquise Goodwin WR4, Deebo Samuel WR4, George Kittle TE1, Matt Breida RB2/3, Raheem Mostert RB3/4, Jeff Wilson RB4

Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers offense are playing at the third-fastest neutral-situation pace, and he took some positive steps in Week 2 with his comfortability with his knee. Kyle Shanahan will continue to toy with opposing linebackers -- this week will be rookie Devin Bush -- and Garoppolo should at least get cheap yards after the catch. The Niners’ 24.75 team total makes Jimmy G a higher-ceiling QB2. 

SF WK3
SF WK3

There is debate over who the 49ers’ top receiver is, but does it really matter? None of the receivers have WR3 usage to this point and their snap counts are all over the place. Second-round rookie Deebo Samuel is probably the best bet to emerge with Dante Pettis in the dog house, but I’d rather wait and see that happen first before diving in. Samuel is a higher-ceiling WR5, while Marquise Goodwin offers big-play potential as a boom-or-bust WR5. … George Kittle gets a Steelers Defense that was brutal against tight ends last year and could be playing Minkah Fitzpatrick on short notice. Kittle is an elite tight end option as always. 

The 49ers are rotating three running backs right now: Matt Breida (early-downs), Raheem Mostert (passing-downs), and Jeff Wilson (goal-line). That split usage on another team would be problematic, but Shanahan is an expert at utilizing multiple backs. Breida should still see 12-15 touches in this timeshare and offers RB2/3 value. Mostert will benefit from a Steelers Defense that has allowed the second-most receptions to RBs (17) this season, so he’s on the RB3/4 borderline, while Wilson is a complete touchdown-dependent RB4.

 

13. Colts (24, -1) vs. ATL

Forecast: Jacoby Brissett QB2, T.Y. Hilton WR2/3, Deon Cain WR5, Chester Rogers WR5, Eric Ebron TE2, Jack Doyle TE2/3, Marlon Mack (questionable) RB1/2, Nyheim Hines RB3 if Mack is out, Jordan Wilkins RB3 if Mack is out

The Colts have taken the ball out of Jacoby Brissett’s hands whenever they can this season but that could be the product of playing two decent defenses on the road to begin the season. At home, Brissett should see more pass attempts, though he’s still a forgettable QB2 against a Falcons Defense that held their own against Wentz last week.  

IND WK3
IND WK3

T.Y. Hilton’s usage (7.5 targets, 69 air yards per game) doesn’t match his 21.5 PPR point average. Hilton is a regression candidate, but he also gets his first game at home and has always been an efficient player. His individual matchup with Desmond Trufant (4.38 40-time) isn’t ideal (their strengths align with each other), so Hilton is on the WR2/3 borderline. … Receiver targets behind Hilton are up for grabs. Deon Cain ran a route on 60% of the Colts’ dropbacks last week, while Chester Rogers (39%), rookie Parris Campbell (34%), and Zach Pascal (31%) sprinkled in. Of this group, Rogers and Cain are the most likely to see Week 3 targets, but Campbell offers the most long-term upside. … Eric Ebron was gifted a goal-line touchdown on a shovel pass last week, but he’s only been targeted seven times and has run a route on 54% of Colts’ dropbacks. Ebron is a touchdown-dependent TE2. … Jack Doyle has very similar usage, but he doesn’t have the touchdown equity Ebron has. Doyle is a TE2/3. 

Week 2

M. Mack

N. Hines

Carries

20

2

Targets

3

2

Routes Run

19

8

Marlon Mack has missed both practices this week, so his Week 3 status is completely up in the air. If he plays, he’ll be an RB1/2 since the Colts offense have the second-highest run rate in neutral situations. If Mack misses, it will likely be Jordan Wilkins (early-down runner) and Nyheim Hines (pass-catcher) contributing in the backfield. Wilkins had an explosive run last week, and he should see enough volume to warrant flex consideration in 12-team leagues. Hines’ matchup against the Falcons Defense that allows dump offs to running backs couldn’t be better. He’ll also be a flex option if Mack is out.

 

14. Falcons (23, +1) @ IND

Forecast: Matt Ryan QB1, Julio Jones WR1, Calvin Ridley WR3, Mohamed Sanu WR4/5, Austin Hooper TE1, Devonta Freeman RB2, Ito Smith RB4

Matt Ryan and the Falcons Offense will have by far their easiest matchup thus far against an Indy defense that is missing a handful of starters. The Colts don’t have a corner capable of stopping Julio, and their rushing defense should be exposed if Darius Leonard (concussion) can’t get cleared. Ryan, as everyone knows, plays much better in a dome, so the only reason for any hesitation is the Colts’ run-heavy offense. Matty Ice is a QB1 with a reasonable ceiling. 

ATL WK3
ATL WK3

Julio Jones is getting fed targets and air yards, and this week he’ll line up against rookie CB Rock Ya-Sin (4.51 40-time) and Pierre Desir (4.59 40-time), who left Week 2 with a knee injury. Jones is my WR1 overall. … Calvin Ridley will also feast on these slower corners on the outside, and his usage (see above) is also great through two weeks. Ridley is a high-ceiling WR3. … Mohamed Sanu is seeing low-aDOT targets, which bodes well against a zone defense that allows targets underneath. Sanu has sneaky WR4/5 value this week. … Austin Hooper has volume (9 and 6 targets) and scheme on his side. Like I mentioned before, Hooper is a candidate for 6+ receptions as a pass-catcher who can easily squat in the weak spots of the Colts’ zone defense. Hooper is a TE1. 

Devonta Freeman looks, well, not great. It doesn’t seem like he’s as explosive as he once was -- injuries matter -- but he does get a “get right” spot this weekend if LB Darius Leonard (concussion) misses. Freeman is still operating as the lead back over Ito Smith (19 to 10 carries, 8 to 4 targets), so I’ll give him another week as an RB2, while Smith fills in as an RB4.
 

15. Ravens (23, +6) @ KC

Forecast: Lamar Jackson QB1, Marquise Brown WR2/3, Willie Snead WR5, Miles Boykin WR5, Mark Andrews TE1, Mark Ingram RB2, Justice Hill RB4/5, Gus Edwards RB4/5

Lamar Jackson has always been able to beat defenses with elite athleticism, but he now has the weapons and skill to beat defenders with the long ball. Mahomes is still the gold standard at the position for fantasy, but Jackson actually has more upside. This week, Jackson is a no-brainer top-3 QB. Tune into this game.

BAL WK3
BAL WK3

Marquise Brown might seem like a rookie who will fall off at some point, but his usage (see above) is among the league’s best. And this week, Hollywood might have the best speed mismatch of any WR/CB with Bashaud Breeland (4.62 40-time) covering him. Brown is a high-ceiling WR2/3. … Miles Boykin offers athleticism and theoretically playmaking ability, but he’s not being used enough to value as more than a low-owned DFS tournament dart throw. … The same goes for Willie Snead, except you can take out the athleticism and playmaking ability. … Mark Andrews is legit. He’s caught 16-of-17 targets this season and now has a career 11.5 YPT average. Volume? Check. Playmaking? Check. Game script? Check. Andrews is a top-five TE this week, and potentially moving forward. 

Week 2

M. Ingram

J. Hill

G. Edwards

Carries

13

1

3

Targets

2

2

0

Routes Run

20

9

7

Mark Ingram took a much larger role in Week 2’s closer game than he did in Week 1’s blowout win. Ingram has a 12-touch floor when he’s healthy -- he is -- and offers goal-line equity to give him a reasonable ceiling. In a game expected to be high-scoring and against a defense that’s been vulnerable on the ground, Ingram is a decent RB2 option. … Justice Hill and Gus Edwards will mix in a few touches, but neither offers standalone value as of now. Hill, in particular, is a bench hold in 12-team leagues. 

 

16. Cardinals (23, -2.5) vs. CAR

Forecast: Kyler Murray QB1, Larry Fitzgerald WR1/2, Christian Kirk WR2, Damiere Byrd WR4/5, KeeSean Johnson WR5, David Johnson RB1, Chase Edmonds RB5

Kyler Murray opened up against two top-10 defenses, but he made it work despite a rough first few quarters. Murray is now leading the NFL in pass attempts (47 per game), is fifth in pass rate in neutral situations, is fourth in passing yards (328.5 per game), and is playing in the second-fastest neutral-situation offense. If Murray starts using his mobility as he did at Oklahoma, he’ll flirt with a top-five fantasy finish this season. Murray is a QB1 at home this week and is a great tournament option in DFS.

ARI WK3
ARI WK3

Larry Fitzgerald has WR1 usage over two weeks. He’s third in targets (24), sixth in air yards (273), and tied for second in red zone targets (5). That’s what happens when you play the slot in Kliff Kingsbury’s air raid. This week, Fitzgerald will line up against Javien Elliott, who is slower (4.68 40-time) and 49 pounds lighter. Fitzgerald is a WR1/2 in my book. … Christian Kirk’s usage isn’t far behind (see above), and he’s a player that should be ascending throughout the season given his age. This week’s matchup with Ross Cockrell is favorable, so he’s an upside WR2. Give me all of the Cardinals players in fantasy TBH. … KeeSean Johnson’s usage dropped big time last week, which is to be expected as an outside receiver in a scheme that’s built around slot receivers. Johnson still has upside, but he has zero floor, even when the Cardinals are running a ton of plays. He’s a boom-or-bust WR5. … Damiere Byrd is really flying under the radar in fantasy. He has run a route on 90% of the Cardinals’ dropbacks, has seven targets in both games, and has 4.27 speed. Byrd makes sense in a Kyler stack in DFS tournaments if you’re sending in a bunch of lineups. … The Cardinals Offense rarely uses a tight end.

David Johnson gave us a scare last week, but his wrist is reportedly good to go. Johnson is in a smash spot coming home against the Panthers Defense who has allowed at least 100 rushing yards in both games. Johnson is also getting more reps as a pass-catcher and should have goal-line opportunities with a 23 team total this week. Johnson is a top-three RB. … Chase Edmonds doesn’t have standalone value, but he’s one of the best handcuffs in fantasy. He should be owned in most leagues with reasonably sized bench spots.

 

17. Bears (22.75, -4) @ WAS

Forecast: Mitchell Trubisky QB2/3, Allen Robinson WR2/3, Taylor Gabriel WR5, Trey Burton TE2, David Montgomery RB2, Tarik Cohen RB5, Mike Davis RB5

Mitchell Trubisky looks terrible right now, but he did have two tough matchups to be fair. This week, there are no excuses. The Redskins have been exposed by Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott already, so Trubisky should return a top-24 finish as long as he can throw the ball at all. If he busts… Yikes. 

CHI WK3
CHI WK3

Allen Robinson’s usage (see above) keeps him in the WR2/3 mix even with Trubisky playing Bortles-esque football. Robinson’s one-on-one matchup against slow-footed Josh Norman (4.66 40-time) doesn’t scare me as long as Trubisky locks onto ARob. … Anthony Miller and Taylor Gabriel aren’t seeing enough usage to be considered in fantasy. … Trey Burton also shouldn’t be considered coming back from an injury with a quarterback who might have worse accuracy than I do. 

Week 2

D. Montgomery

T. Cohen

M. Davis

Carries

18

4

3

Targets

3

5

0

Routes Run

8

14

6

David Montgomery took over the backfield last week (see above), and he gets a great matchup against the Redskins’ 30th ranked run defense (per PFF). Montgomery’s touch total and goal-line equity (see below) make Montgomery an RB2 this week and likely beyond. … Tarik Cohen was a slot receiver in Week 1 and a low-volume running back last week. His role is still being ironed out. 

 

18. Texans (22.5, +3) @ LAC

Forecast: Deshaun Watson QB1, DeAndre Hopkins WR1, Will Fuller WR3, Kenny Stills WR5, Carlos Hyde RB3, Duke Johnson RB3

HOU Usage
HOU Usage

Deshaun Watson is a baller regardless, but he has a higher ceiling when he’s projected to lose (7.66 more fantasy points as an underdog than favorite, per RotoViz) because his rushing production is boasted when he’s trailing (see above). The Chargers’ secondary will be tested even more with Adrian Phillips’ broken arm. Watson is an obvious QB1. 

HOU WK3
HOU WK3

DeAndre Hopkins will be shadowed by elite CB Casey Hayward, but Hopkins is a pro’s pro and is essentially matchup proof. Watkins isn’t afraid to throw the ball up to Hopkins in tight coverage, and Hopkins usually wins those 50/50 balls. Hopkins remains a WR1 even in a tough matchup. … Will Fuller has one of the best speed mismatches of the week against CB Brandon Facyson (4.53 40-time). Fuller also has positive regression coming his way after seeing major usage in both weeks (see above). Fuller is a high-ceiling WR3 and a decent DFS tournament option. … Keke Coutee and Kenny Stills are going to split the rest of the work, and it’s not a role I want to target whenever Hopkins and Fuller are healthy. … The Texans don’t have a usable tight end in fantasy.  

Week 2

D. Johnson

C. Hyde

Carries

6

20

Targets

1

0

Routes Run

16

10

Lines were drawn in the sand last week. Carlos Hyde is the clear runner. Duke Johnson is the clear pass-catcher. With the Texans projected to lose, Johnson has game script on his side, but the Chargers Defense is friendly to both pure runners (Marlon Mack Week 1) and receiving backs (scheme related). Hyde and Johnson will get there in different ways, but both are RB3s. 

 

19. Browns (22.25, +3) vs. LAR

Forecast: Baker Mayfield QB1/2, Odell Beckham WR1, Jarvis Landry WR3/4, Rashard Higgins WR5, Nick Chubb RB1, Dontrell Hilliard RB4

Baker Mayfield has played bad. Period. He’s 27th in NFL Passer Rating against pressure per PFF, and the offensive line isn’t going to get better. Unless Mayfield feels more comfortable, he won’t hit his ceiling and he can’t be viewed as an every-week QB1. The Rams have shutdown the Panthers’ and Saints’ passing games through two weeks to make matters worse. Mayfield is on the QB1/2 borderline. 

CLE WK3
CLE WK3

Odell Beckham is #GoodAtTheGame and he’s one of the highest-used receivers in the NFL through two weeks. OBJ, not Jarvis Landry, is Baker’s safety blanket, so he’s a no-brainer WR1, even against Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib. … Landry’s usage (see above) is on the WR3/4 level, but that may slightly come up with David Njoku (wrist) out. Landry’s matchup inside is better, too, so Landry is a fine WR3/4 this week. … Rashard Higgins is returning from a knee injury this week, and his individual matchup isn’t too friendly. I’ll take my DFS tournament shots with Higgins at another time. … The Browns don’t have a capable tight end behind David Njoku.

Nick Chubb has the workload. 17 carries Week 1. 18 carries Week 2. And he even has seven receptions on the season. Chubb is also capable of busting off a long run and could catch fire in the touchdown department if Mayfield improves. Chubb is high-ceiling RB1.

 

20. Giants (21, +6) @ TB

Forecast: Daniel Jones QB3, Sterling Shepard WR3, Evan Engram TE1, Saquon Barkley RB1

Daniel Jones is taking over for Eli Manning, and Bucs DC Todd Bowles is probably loving life right now. Bowles is going to send so many blitzes, and Jones averaged 5.6 YPA with a 3/5 TD/INT ratio against pressure at Duke last season. Jones will need to use his athleticism -- that’s possibly his best trait at this point -- to have a productive fantasy line this week, especially if the Giants don’t have Sterling Shepard again. Jones is a QB3 in his debut. 

NYG WK3
NYG WK3

Sterling Shepard practiced this week, so he’ll be out there for Danny Dimes’ debut. The Bucs’ secondary is vulnerable in the slot, and Shepard is projected for 6-10 targets almost every week. He’s a fine WR3. … Evan Engram only seeing eight targets and 60 air yards last week was very surprising. I’m projecting both of those numbers to climb if Shepard can’t get cleared, and even if he does, Engram should be one of the most-targeted tight ends this week. Engram is a top-four fantasy tight end this week. 

Saquon Barkley is running so, so, so hot right now, but he can still get better as a receiver. That should improve with Jones, who should frequently find Saquon as a check down against pressure this week. Barkley is obviously an elite fantasy RB. 

Week 3 Forecast
Week 3 Forecast

Teams are listed in order of their implied points.

Page 1: DAL, NE, KC, TB, MIN, PHI, GB, LAC, LAR, BUF

Page 2: SEA, SF, IND, ATL, BAL, ARI, CHI, HOU, CLE, NYG

Page 3: CAR, DET, NO, CIN, WAS, DEN, PIT, OAK, MIA, NYJ

TNF: TEN, JAX

 

21. Panthers (20.5, +2.5) @ ARI

Forecast: Kyle Allen QB2/3, D.J. Moore WR2, Curtis Samuel WR3, Greg Olsen TE1, Christian McCaffrey RB1

Kyle Allen is likely to fill in for the injured Cam Newton (foot), and he gets arguably the friendliest fantasy matchup there is playing against a porous defense and a quick-hitting offense (Arizona is the Coors Field of the NFL). The matchup and his athleticism are good enough to list him ahead of the bottom of the barrel options, so he’s a borderline QB2/3. 

CAR WK3
CAR WK3

D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel ran a route on every Panthers’ drop back in Week 2. Moore will do most of his damage underneath on slants (8.8 aDOT), while Samuel offers more big-play potential as the Panthers’ deep threat (14.9 aDOT). Moore should slightly benefit with Allen at QB since he’s more likely to check down than throw over the top, and the Cardinals’ secondary is uber-friendly. Moore is a volume-based WR2. I’m not very concerned with the quarterback change. … Samuel, who is 8th in the NFL in air yards, is a boom-or-bust WR3 with long touchdown upside (4.31 speed) against CB Byron Murphy (4.55 speed). The quarterback change isn’t as big of a deal as it would seem because Cam’s accuracy this season as awful. Allen, at worst, should be comparable to 2019 Cam. Samuel is still a high-ceiling WR3/4. … Jarius Wright continues to play most snaps, but he’s only seen 11% of the Panthers’ air yards so far. … Greg Olsen has TE1 usage. He has 18 targets on 22% team share of air yards while running a route on most of the Panthers’ drop backs. The Cardinals Defense has also given up a league-high 23 targets, 17 receptions, 273 yards, and three touchdowns against tight ends this year (T.J. Hockenson and Mark Andrews). The matchup is ideal, and he should get cheap checkdown receptions with Kyle Allen at quarterback. Olsen is more of a TE1 than a TE2, even if he isn’t as athletic as he once was. 

Christian McCaffrey was used much differently in Week 2 than Week 1 (See above). The results: Not great. McCaffrey’s volume is still elite, but his ceiling is lowered with Allen at quarterback. A bad Cardinals Defense with a fast-paced offense are reasons for optimism. McCaffrey is still a top-six RB.
 

22. Lions (20, +6) @ PHI

Forecast: Matthew Stafford QB2, Kenny Golladay WR1/2, Marvin Jones WR4, Danny Amendola WR5, T.J. Hockenson TE1/2, Kerryon Johnson RB2, Ty Johnson RB4

Matthew Stafford and the Lions Offense want to #EstablishIt, but the Eagles Defense is pass-funneling. Case Keenum and Matt Ryan combined for 700 yards and six touchdowns against Philly, and Stafford can hit a ceiling with Golladay, Jones, and Hockenson stretching the field. This is a matchup-boasted QB2 spot for Stafford. 

DET WK3
DET WK3

Kenny Golladay has WR1 usage over two weeks. It’s that simple. Were they two favorable matchups? Yes, but this week’s matchup against Rasul Douglas and an Eagles Defense that gave up the most receiving yards to opposing WR1s last year is also very favorable despite the road game. Golladay is a strong, high-ceiling WR1/2. … Marvin Jones was just as productive as Golladay last season, but it looks like he’s taken a big step back in 2019 with Golladay doubling his air yards and targets. Jones is still capable of big weeks as a deep threat, but he’ll be even more boom-or-bust unless his targets climb back up. For now, he’s a higher-ceiling WR4. … Danny Amendola exploded Week 1 against the WR-friendly Cardinals Defense, but he was targeted just once in a tougher matchup against the Chargers last week. Amendola won’t get enough targets to consistently contribute as a WR4/5, even in PPR leagues. … T.J. Hockenson also crashed back to earth in Week 2 when he lost half of his slot+outside snaps. Hockenson will be a victim of the Lions’ sixth-most run-heavy offense (neutral situations only), so he’s an intriguing talent with volume concerns. 

Kerryon Johnson’s outlook is improved with C.J. Anderson’s release, but he’s still not totally in the clear for a bellcow role. I believe the Lions cut Anderson because of Ty Johnson’s rock-solid Week 2 performance, not because Kerryon earned a full workload. The Auburn alum is capable of having a three-down plus goal-line role, but the Lions have chosen not to give him it in both offseasons. Johnson is a strong RB2, especially if he can walk away with additional touches this week.
 

23. Saints (19.75, +5) @ SEA

Forecast: Teddy Bridgewater QB3, Michael Thomas WR1/2, Ted Ginn WR5, Tre’Quan Smith (questionable) WR5, Jared Cook TE1/2, Alvin Kamara RB1/2, Latavius Murray RB4

Teddy Bridgewater might be the most overrated backup in the NFL. Bridgewater has a career 29/23 TD/INT ratio and hasn’t shown any desire to run the ball since his significant knee injury. Teddy was awful last week, and I’m not expecting much in Seattle this week unless Thomas or Kamara break off a random big gain.  

NO WK3
NO WK3

Does Brees’ injury hurt Michael Thomas’ fantasy value? Yes. Does it plummet it? No. Bridgewater honed in on Thomas for 11 targets last week, and he’ll likely continue to see WR1-level usage as Sean Payton schemes plays his way. The Seahawks’ secondary has already been exposed by lesser receivers, so Thomas is still a top-10 receiver this week. … Ted Ginn wasn’t targeted last week. … Tre’Quan Smith (knee) didn’t practice on Wednesday and Thursday. … Jared Cook’s ceiling and floor are severely lowered without Brees. Cook needs red zone looks and targets deep over the middle to have fantasy value, and Bridgewater hasn’t shown an ability to make either pass. Cook is a low-floor TE1/2. 

Alvin Kamara has a modified bellcow role, but he was oddly not very involved as a pass-catcher with Bridgewater last week. There’s no way that continues with a week to prepare, so Kamara should see at least a few receptions on top of his typical 10+ carries. If Latavius Murray vultures goal-line work, Kamara could be in trouble because his total volume and efficiency will likely take a hit without Brees. Kamara is on the RB1/2 borderline. … Murray can’t be started as a touchdown-dependent back playing on a team with a 19.75 team total.

 

24. Bengals (19, +6) @ BUF

Forecast: Andy Dalton QB2/3, Tyler Boyd WR3, John Ross WR4, Tyler Eifert TE2/3, Joe Mixon RB2, Giovani Bernard RB4/5

Andy Dalton and the Bengals offense have the third-highest pass rate in neutral situations. Coach Zac Taylor is putting the ball in Dalton’s hands, and the results have been hit-and-miss. This week’s road matchup against a Bills Defense that has allowed 181 passing yards per game since Week 1 2018 is not a fun one, so Dalton is a volume-based QB2/3. 

CIN WK3
CIN WK3

John Ross will face stud CB Tre’Davious White for much of Week 3, and Ross was already going to be very boom-or-bust given his style of play. Coach Zac Taylor will still likely scheme open Ross a few times, however, keeping him in play as a wildcard WR4. … Tyler Boyd gets the easiest matchup on the Bengals this week going up against Kevin Johnson or Taron Johnson in the slot. Boyd also gets schemed open -- think Robert Woods on the Rams last year -- and has one of the safest target floors in fantasy football with A.J. Green (ankle) sidelined. Boyd is a WR3 even in a game the Bengals are expected to score 19 points. … Tyler Eifert has TE2 usage, but he faces a Bills Defense that has been among the best at stopping tight ends under coach Sean McDermott. Eifert is a low-floor TE2/3 as he continues to split reps with C.J. Uzomah

The Bengals have largely abandoned the run, even after adjusting for the scoreboard. Joe Mixon has vowed to play better (1.6 YPC while playing behind PFF’s 24th graded run-blocking OL), but he needs to pick up more receiving production to live up to draft day expectations. Last week, Mixon only saw caught three passes despite the Bengals chasing points for most of the game. In a tough road matchup with a low team total (19), Mixon is more of a high-end RB2 than a low-end RB1. … Giovani Bernard has the lowest success rate among RBs with at least 10 carries, and he’s not seeing nearly enough volume to make up for it. Gio is purely a handcuff.
 

25. Redskins (18.75, +4) vs. CHI

Forecast: Case Keenum QB3, Terry McLaurin WR3, Chris Thompson RB3, Adrian Peterson RB3/4

Case Keenum isn’t a fantasy option against the Bears. C’mon man.

WAS WK3
WAS WK3

Terry McLaurin has WR1/2 usage. The rookie is fifth in air yards (277) and is tied for second with five red zone receptions. Will that continue? Probably not. But he’s clearly the best receiver on the Redskins and probably won’t fall off a cliff, especially if Jordan  Reed (concussion) misses again and if he gets college teammate Dwayne Haskins at quarterback soon. McLaurin’s matchup this week against Prince Amukamara and Kyle Fuller isn’t daunting, so he’s a boom-or-bust WR3. … Trey Quinn and Paul Richardson aren’t seeing enough volume to be fantasy starters, and the Bears Defense isn’t the matchup to get cute with. … Jordan Reed (concussion) is still questionable, but he’d be a risky TE2 if cleared. 

AP
AP

 

Week 2

A. Peterson

C. Thompson

Carries

10

2

Targets

2

8

Routes Run

6

21

Adrian Peterson needs positive game script to be a risky flex option (see chart above), and the Redskins are 4-point dogs against the Bears this week. AP’s usage should be similar to last week’s (see table above), so he’s a zero-floor RB3/4. … Chris Thompson is more interesting (by default). Thompson has the second-most targets (18) among running backs, and the Broncos opted to target their backs 14 times against the Bears last week. Thompson is a volume-based RB3 in PPR leagues.

 

26. Broncos (18.25, +7.5) @ GB

Forecast: Joe Flacco QB3, Emmanuel Sanders WR3/4, Courtland Sutton WR4, DaeSean Hamilton WR5, Noah Fant TE2, Royce Freeman RB2/3, Phillip Lindsay RB2/3

Joe Flacco has one three-touchdown game in his last 31 games. Is that elite?

DEN WK3
DEN WK3

Emmanuel Sanders’ return from a torn Achilles at 32-years-old has been one of the best (and most surprising) storylines through two weeks. Sanders is leading the NFL with seven red zone receptions and is tied for fifth in receptions (16). He has strong WR2 usage, but Flacco will hold Sanders back from reaching his ceiling. Sanders, who will face a great outside CB duo in Jaire Alexander and Kevin King this week, is a volume-based WR3/4, though I remain one foot in, one foot out. I just can’t believe he’s looked this good given the circumstances. … Sanders has been way more productive, but Courtland Sutton actually has more air yards (177 to 160). Sutton has WR3 usage and could be a buy-low target next week once he gets done with this road matchup against the Packers’ outside CB duo. Sutton is a low-floor WR4. … DaeSean Hamilton hasn’t been utilized enough to be fired up as a fill-in flex. … Noah Fant is still developing, but he’s so explosive on tape and has run a ton of routes already. I’m really hoping Fant’s routes turn into targets moving forward because Fant has a ton of pass-catching potential. But even I can’t bet on Fant on the road against an impressive Packers Defense that has even made grumpy Aaron Rodgers happy. 

Week 2

P. Lindsay

R. Freeman

Carries

13

11

Targets

7

7

Routes Run

24

24

The Broncos have the fourth-highest run rate in neutral situations, but the near even split between Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman has cannibalized each other from bigger weeks. Of the two, Freeman looks better on tape and has been more efficient as a runner and receiver. Freeman also surprisingly saw seven targets last week, so he joins Lindsay on the RB2/3 radar.

 

27. Steelers (18.25, +6.5) @ SF

Forecast: Mason Rudolph QB3, JuJu Smith-Schuster WR1/2, James Washington WR4, Vance McDonald TE1, James Conner RB2

Mason Rudolph is very poised in the pocket, and he’s not afraid to take his shots downfield. Not a bad combination all things considered, but I am a bit worried against a 49ers’ defensive line that’s popped in two straight weeks. Rudolph should be faced with pressure and is already traveling across the country, so he’s a low-floor QB3 in his season debut.

PIT WK3
PIT WK3

JuJu Smith-Schuster’s ceiling and floor are lower with Rudolph, but he was targeted deep multiple times last week and will continue to have WR1/2 usage. Will he be as efficient? Probably not, but this week’s matchup is a nice one. JuJu will avoid Richard Sherman and get the beatable CB K’Waun Williams in the slot. JuJu is a WR1/2. … It’s James Washington time with Donte Moncrief dropping out of the lineup and with his college quarterback now under center. Rudolph showered Washington with targets at Oklahoma State and during preseason games, and Washington will be the primary deep threat moving forward. The only question is if he’ll let those deep targets go down the (shower) drain. Washington is a boom-or-bust WR4. … Coach Mike Tomlin on Donte Moncrief: "I don't know what to make of it. I know we haven't been able to depend on him until this point." Moncrief was benched after another drop -- this one led to an interception -- and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was a healthy scratch this week. … Vance McDonald was second in targets with Rudolph playing last week, and he’s played most snaps in each of the first two games. McDonald’s ceiling and floor have been lowered, but he still belongs as a low-end TE1.

James Conner (knee) was able to practice Thursday, but his fantasy outlook this week is bleak. The 49ers bottled up the Bengals’ and Bucs’ running games and he’s not expected to have positive game script. Conner still has his goal-line role and is capable as a receiver, so he’s still in the RB2 mix.

 

28. Raiders (17, +9.5) @ MIN

Forecast: Derek Carr QB3, Tyrell Williams WR4, Hunter Renfrow WR4/5, Darren Waller TE1, Josh Jacobs RB2, Jalen Richard RB4

Does Derek Carr run? No. Does Derek Carr make plays? No. Is there a reason to play him against Mike Zimmer and the Vikings’ run-heavy offense? No. Let’s move on.

OAK WK3
OAK WK3

Tyrell Williams has been productive as the Raiders’ No. 1 receiver, but this will be his toughest challenge yet, as he’s traveling across the country for a one-on-one matchup with Xavier Rhodes who gave Julio Jones trouble two weeks ago. Williams is a volume-based WR4. … Hunter Renfrow busted onto the scene in Week 2 (8 targets) and has the “coziest matchup in the slot against plus-sized nickelback Jayron Kearse,” per Ian Hartitz. Renfrow is a sneaky bet to lead the team in receiving this week as Carr deals with pressure. He’s a WR4/5. … The Raiders aren’t projected to score enough to get cute with Ryan Grant. … Darren Waller will match up with Harrison Smith, but Waller’s volume is way too high to drop him outside of the top-eight at the position. Waller should rack up cheap catches and has enough athleticism to break off a big play. 

Josh Jacobs is the leader of PFF’s elusiveness rating through two weeks (min. 20 carries). He’s playing well, but Week 2 was a disaster for his season-long outlook. When the Raiders’ trailed, it was Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington in the game, not Jacobs, who finished without a target. If we think the Raiders are going to trail a lot this year, then it’s hard to be too excited with Jacobs unless he gets involved as a receiver. At Alabama last year, Jacobs caught 20-of-23 targets with a 10.7 YPT average. He’s capable, but will he be used? That’s to be determined. For now, Jacobs is a back-end RB2 with goal-line opportunity. 

 

29. Dolphins (12.5, +22.5) @ DAL

Forecast: Josh Rosen QB3, DeVante Parker WR4, Kenyan Drake RB3/4

This is the part of the column where you are supposed to stop reading. 

MIA WK3
MIA WK3

DeVante Parker and Kenyan Drake are the only Dolphins’ players remotely on the fantasy radar. Parker is seeing highly valuable deep targets, but they’re desperation targets from Ryan Fitzpatrick or Josh Rosen. Less than ideal. … Drake has game script severely going against him, but he’s at least not Kalen Ballage, who has been among the worst running backs in the NFL this season. Drake’s floor and ceiling are so suppressed that it’s hard to get excited with him even as a desperation flex.
 

30. Jets (10.75, +22) @ NE

Forecast: Luke Falk QB3, Jamison Crowder WR5, Robby Anderson WR5, Le’Veon Bell RB1/2

The Jets have scored 13, 3, 17, 6, 17, and 3 offensive points against the Patriots in their last six matchups and are now turning to their third-string quarterback Luke Falk

NYJ WK3
NYJ WK3

Robby Anderson has already faced Denzel Ward and Tre’Davious White, and he now gets Stephon Gilmore this week. Anderson’s ceiling and floor are severely lowered in this matchup with Falk at QB, making him at best a WR4 despite the air yards. … Jamison Crowder’s chemistry with Sam Darnold was the primary reason Crowder saw 17 targets in Week 1. Those days are on hold with Falk at QB. Crowder is a low-ceiling WR5 on an offense only projected to score 10.75 points. … There aren’t other pass-catching options worth discussing for the time being. 

Le’Veon Bell is going to get fed, but the Patriots are going to try to limit him as best as they can. The Jets’ 10.75 team total makes Bell more of an RB1/2 than an RB1, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he caught six or more passes. 

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