Week 2 Matchups

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Kickoff Thursday, Sep 16th 8:20pm Eastern

Giants (
18.5) at

WFT (
22.5)

Over/Under 41.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Giants Run D
30th DVOA/22nd Yards allowed per carry
Washington Run O
9th DVOA/20th Yards per carry
Giants Pass D
23rd DVOA/25th Yards allowed per pass
Washington Pass O
15th DVOA/20th Yards per pass
Washington Run D
21st DVOA/23rd Yards allowed per carry
Giants Run O
7th DVOA/15th Yards per carry
Washington Pass D
16th DVOA/24th Yards allowed per pass
Giants Pass O
16th DVOA/17th Yards per pass

Xandamere’s Showdown Slant

It only took until Week 2 for us to get an absolutely miserable game for an island Showdown. The Giants visit Washington in a game with a 41 total and Washington favored by a field goal. Vegas, obviously, expects this to be a very low-scoring affair (the first one of the island Showdowns so far), which impacts not just individual player selection but also our overall strategy for how to attack the slate, which we’ll dig into here. It’s also worth noting that we don’t have projections up for this game yet, which means I’ll be making some educated guesses on things that projections will address in more detail.

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WASHINGTON

We’ll start with Washington as they are the more exciting team despite the loss of Ryan Fitzpatrick. The run game is largely about Antonio Gibson, and I expect he’ll have the highest raw points projection on the slate, above the mediocre quarterbacks. In Week 1, Gibson played 65% of the snaps and saw 20 carries and five targets, with the targets being a mild surprise. There was talk of Washington using Gibson more in a pass game role this year, but until we see it, it’s hard to buy, as we see that kind of talk ALL the time about running backs. As a home favorite with near bell-cow status, Gibson is the strongest overall play on the slate. Backup JD McKissic saw 36% of the snaps but just one carry, and more importantly, just one target. Last season, we saw McKissic dominate the pass game role while Gibson was mostly a 2-down back so this is encouraging usage for Gibson, but it’s also worth noting that Washington only attempted 21 passes in the entire game. McKissic should see more than one target per game going forward, but the trust in Gibson in the passing game is exciting. Third-string back Jaret Patterson saw two carries and one target and is an afterthought except potentially in MME pools, and in that case, you’re betting on either Gibson getting hurt or the game getting completely out of hand (i.e. only use Patterson either without Gibson or in Washington onslaught builds).

In the passing game, Washington had a very narrow usage tree, with Terry McLaurin, Dyami Brown, and Logan Thomas playing between 90-100% of the snaps; Adam Humphries in a roughly 60% role as the slot receiver; and then a smattering of minor backup usage. Again, we need to remember that Washington only attempted 21 passes, and this usage might well change if they’re throwing more…but with backup Taylor Heinicke at quarterback, they probably don’t want to be throwing much at all. McLaurin is the premium guy here, obviously. He’s the best receiver play in the game and there isn’t much else to say about him. Logan Thomas is priced up at $7,400, which is pretty pricey for a tight end, but for one playing every offensive snap and going up against a defense that has historically been vulnerable to tight ends, he’s a decent play despite the price tag. The most interesting receiving play on Washington, though, is Brown. The rookie wideout played almost every snap and was second on the team in targets (with a whopping four). He didn’t do much with it, but being able to spend $1,400 for a full-time player on the favored team is just a ridiculous value. Expect him to be extremely popular and thus one of the pivotal decision points on the slate; as in, he’s objectively one of the strongest plays, but everyone else is going to realize this as well. I’m actually quite interested in Humphries, who is in a bit of a dead-zone pricing wise. With the value of Brown, I expect Humphries is going to attract relatively modest ownership, but a possession receiver who can rack up some PPR points is exactly the kind of play who can work out perfectly in a low-scoring game. Your MME punt receivers are Ricky Seals-Jones, Cam Sims, DeAndre Carter, and maybe Dax Milne or John Bates if you want to get really frisky/crazy/dumb (pick your adjective). All of these plays are very thin and I listed them in the order in which I prefer them.

Showdown Ownership Projections!

Ownership updates automatically

GIANTS

Showdown Slants are for OWS Week, OWS Annual, and Inner Circle members only


By LexMiraglia10 >>

Overview:

  • Same coaching staffs and fairly similar rosters as 2020 (adding Saquon & Golladay being biggest changes)
  • NYG won this matchup in 2020 by scores of 20-19 & 23-20, with starts in the games of 13-3 and 20-3 before late pushes from WAS
  • WAS will play its 3rd different QB in this matchup (Smith, Allen, Heinecke), and 5th of any matchup since last year (Haskins, Fitz)

Taylor Heinecke:

  • When thrust into playing time for WAS, Heinecke has gone for 137:1:0 & 122:1:0 in games he didn’t start, and 306:1:1 in his start (playoffs vs TB)
  • He has also rushed in those games: 3:22 // 3:17 // 6:46:1
  • NYG allowed Teddy Bridgewater to go 264:2 with a 95.7 QBR in Week 1
  • The Giants forced the highest pressure rate in the league on Teddy’s dropbacks (53.7%)
  • Thursday Home Favorite QBs since 2014 have averaged 18.94 DK pts/g with avg expected pts/g of 18.45 (determined by salary expectations)

WAS WRs:

  • The Giants struggled with Jeudy (6:72) before he left injured, Patrick scored, and Hamler dropped a deep TD
  • McLaurin vs NYG in 2020: 7:74 (12) // 7:115:1 (8)
  • WAS WR notable snaps in Week 1: Terry (100%) // Dyami (93%) // Hump (60%)
  • Heinecke WR targets (incl penalty plays): Terry (5) // Dyami (4) // Hump (2) // C Sims (1)
  • Heinecke WR targets in TB playoff game: Terry (7) // C Sims (13) // S Sims (4)
  • On pass snaps, Terry (20 Wide, 10 Slot) // Dyami (15 Wide, 13 Slot) // Hump (9 Wide, 11 Slot)
  • NYG allowed 20.7 pts to Wide & 13.3 to Slot per game in 2020 (per Majesstik’s Workbook)
  • Jeudy’s 72 yd shortened game vs NYG came with passing snaps of 5 wide, 19 slot

Logan Thomas:

  • Thomas on just Heinecke snaps since 2020: 4:48 (7) // 5:74 (9) // 3:30:1 (3)
  • Thomas vs NYG in 2020: 3:42:1 (4) // 3:28 (6)
  • DEN TEs vs NYG in W1: Fant (6:62) // Albert O (3:16:1)
  • On 30 passing snaps in W1, Thomas had 18 slot, 2 wide, 8 inline, 2 blocking

WAS RBs:

  • Week 1 targets (Heinecke targets): Gibson: 5 (2) // McKissic: 1 (0) // Patterson: 1 (1)
  • Heinecke targeted Gibson & McKissic three times each in the TB playoff game
  • 2020: Four RBs reached 20+ DK pts vs NYG (Monty 21.7, Wilson 21.9, Zeke 23.5, Carson 20), but some RB pairs did it combined: (Wilson+McKinnon 38.6) // (McKissic+Gibson 23.9 & 30.7) // (Sanders+Scott 27.9) // (Drake+Edmonds 25.3) // (Dobbins+Edwards 27.9) // (Zeke+Pollard 21.4)
  • Gibson finished with 25 (20 att, 5 tg) of the 30 RB touches in Week 1
  • The Giants allowed a late 70-yd Gordon TD, but outside of that held Gordon & Javonte to 76 rush yds on 24 att
  • Only three teams allowed more RB rec yds than NYG in 2020
  • DEN RBs went just 4:13 through the air on four W1 targets

Overview (NYG):

  • The Giants have scored under 20 offensive pts in 11/17 games with Garrett as OC
  • After getting manhandled by Von Miller, the Giants offensive line now gets one of the best defensive lines in the NFL, starting with Chase Young

Daniel Jones:

  • Jones has 40 TOs in 27 starts
  • In 17 Jason Garrett games, Jones or Colt McCoy have scored 1 TD or less in 12 of them
  • Jones threw for a combined 324 yds, 1 TD in two games vs WAS in 2020
  • Road underdogs on TNF have averaged 16.39 DK pts/g with an avg expected pts of 17.24 (determined by salary expectations)

NYG WRs:

  • WAS allowed the 5th fewest WR yds & 3rd fewest WR DK pts in 2020
  • LAC WRs vs WAS: Keenan (9:100) // Williams (8:82:1) // Guyton (3:49) // Hill (3:30)
  • Keenan Allen played 28 snaps in the slot to 13 wide vs WAS
  • Shepard played 28 snaps in the slot to 15 wide in W1 vs DEN
  • Snap counts for Giants top WRs: Shep (95%) // Golladay (85%) // Slayton (70%)
  • Targets for Giants top WRs: Shep (9) // Golladay (7) // Slayton (6)
  • Yards for Giants top WRs: Shep (113) // Golladay (65) // Slayton (64)

Evan Engram:

  • Engram received the most targets on NYG in 2020 (though Shep missed 5 g)
  • Engram still didn’t practice Monday
  • Rudolph finished with 2:8 on 5 targets in W1
  • Jared Cook finished with 5:56 on 8 targets vs WAS

Saquon Barkley:

  • WAS allowed the 2nd fewest RB DK pts in 2020
  • WAS allowed the 4th fewest RB rec yds in 2020
  • LAC RBs vs WAS: Ekeler (15:57:1) // Rountree (8:27)
  • Saquon’s first game back: 10:26, 1:1 (3)
  • Saquon’s only other full game with Garrett as OC came against another tough defense in PIT W1 last year, in which he finished with 15 att 6 yds, 6 rec 60 yds
  • NYG RBs vs WAS in 2020: Freeman (18:61) // Gallman (14:68:1); Morris (9:67)

Kickoff Sunday, Sep 19th 1:00pm Eastern

Patriots (
24.5) at

Jets (
18.5)

Over/Under 43.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Patriots Run D
23rd DVOA/14th Yards allowed per carry
Jets Run O
20th DVOA/22nd Yards per carry
Patriots Pass D
2nd DVOA/6th Yards allowed per pass
Jets Pass O
32nd DVOA/29th Yards per pass
Jets Run D
12th DVOA/12th Yards allowed per carry
Patriots Run O
11th DVOA/13th Yards per carry
Jets Pass D
17th DVOA/10th Yards allowed per pass
Patriots Pass O
22nd DVOA/25th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By Papy324>>> 
  • New England will feel a lot of pressure to win this game
  • The Jets looked lost on offense in Week 1
  • Damien Harris offers cheap touches if he isn’t in the doghouse
  • The best play from this game is likely a defense

How New England Will Try to Win ::

The Patriots are coming off a tough one-point loss against an opponent they’ve consistently beaten for the better part of the past two decades (Tom Brady is 23-12 against Miami in his career). Does it feel to anyone else like the Patriots have the most pressure of any team entering Week 2? After a lackluster rebuilding year, followed by a frantic offseason of spending, the Patriots faithful fully expect a 2021 return to glory. An 0-2 start would not only put the Patriots up against stiff odds historically to make the playoffs, but it would also ignite a narrative that the “Patriot way” was really just the “Brady way.” 

Fortunately for the Pats, they draw a lackluster Jets team starting a rookie QB in his second career game. The Pats gave us a glimpse of how they want to attack in Week 1: Slam Damien Harris into the opposing front seven and let their elite offensive line control the game. This style makes sense, given that the Pats are starting a rookie QB. Damien Harris got 23 carries in Week 1, and they continued to ride him until a costly fumble lost them the game late in the fourth quarter. We can only assume that Bill Belichick will curse Harris’ family line for generations over such an offense. Still, given the other options in the backfield, Bill is likely to keep featuring Harris. 

The passing game is the path of least resistance against a Jets secondary leaving a lot to be desired. However, the Pats are also starting a rookie QB in his second game, and if they can control the game on defense, they are likely to opt for a ground and pound approach. When they do take to the air, the receiving work is spread out, with eight different players catching a pass in Week 1 and no one earning double-digit targets. Jakobi Meyers was the most involved with nine looks but only turned them into six receptions for 44 yards. Behind Meyers, Nelson Agholor and James White saw seven targets each. The Pats new TEs (Jonnu Smith/Hunter Henry) saw five and three targets, respectively, effectively splitting the TE production. The Pats should be content to limit their risk in the passing game while exploiting the Jets weak secondary on crucial third downs.  

How New York Will Try to Win ::

“You’ll still never run 60 plays!” shouts Adams Gase as he curses the Jets on his way out the door. Do the Jets deserve a Week 1 mulligan? Are we playing breakfast balls? Things were supposed to be different under new OC Mike LaFleur, and in fairness, at least LaFleur tried. The Jets ran a sad 54 plays, but most of them were aggressive, attempting 37 passes. 

Zach Wilson looked like a frightened child in his debut. He consistently failed to deliver the ball on time, and the game appeared to be moving too fast for him. Wilson did not pass the eye test in Week 1 and in comes a Patriots team with a coach that is known to confuse rookie QBs. This matchup looks scary for Wilson. The Jets should stay aggressive and “try to win” with their new coaching regime, but they lack the roster to be effective. 

On the ground, the Jets split work between Tevin Coleman (nine carries), Ty Johnson (four carries), and Michael Carter (four carries). When you slice up a small pie three different ways, no one gets much pie. Expect the Jets to try and be more balanced for as long as this game remains competitive. 

When the Jets took to the air in Week 1, they operated a spread-out attack with nine different players seeing targets and no one seeing more than seven. Corey Davis and Braxton Berrios led the way with seven looks each. Ryan Griffin and Tyler Kroft split the TE work almost evenly, capping both players’ potential to make an impact. Minimum-priced Week 1 darling Elijah Moore massively disappointed, registering only four targets and managing to “gain” negative three yards. The Jets will try and protect Wilson before eventually letting him do his best to win the game. 

Most Likely Game Flow ::

This game checks in with a lowly 42.5 total, by far the lowest on the slate. We should expect the Pats to be content to win this game on defense and with a power running game. They have no reason to expose Mac Jones to a mistake-prone game and should be able to let him do just enough to get his first NFL win. The Jets will “try to win,” unlike the Adam Gase years, but simply don’t have the talent on their roster to keep up. Expect an ineffective running game to eventually lead to an ineffective passing game as the Jets enter catch-up mode.

Tributaries ::

DFS+ Interpretation ::

By Dwprix >>

Overview:

  • Matchup has the lowest total on the 13 game slate (42)
  • NE is tied for the 4th highest implied team total
  • Robert Salah’s SF D faced Josh McDaniel’s NE O last season
  • Salah’s D only allowed two FGs & SF won 33-6
  • NE has won ten straight over NYG
  • In five of the games, NYJ failed to score a TD
  • NYJ has avg just 11.4 pts/game across the last ten vs NE

Mac Jones:

  • Finished 8th overall in QBR, highest among all rookie QBs
  • Mac Jones was pressured on 52.5% of his dropbacks Wk1
  • MIA blitzed Jones on 47.5% of his dropbacks last week
  • He completed 80% of his throws under pressure, 6th best

NE RBs:

  • Damien Harris carried 23 times (100 yds), only Mark Ingram & Joe Mixon saw more last wk
  • James White: 4 carries  Brandon Bolden: 1
  • Harris fumbled at the 9 yd line with 3:18 left to go w/ NE down 17-16
  • White saw 7 tgs, only Jakobi Myers saw more NE tgs (9)

NE WRs:

  • Only 4 WRs saw the field for NE
  • Snap %: Jakobi Myers-99% // Nelson Agholor-85% // Kendrick Bourne-44% // Gunner Olszewski-15% 
  • Meyers tgs last four: 9 // 7 // 6 // 10
  • Meyers had 3 games last season seeing 10+ tgs but 0 TDs

NE TEs:

  • Jonnu Smith played 55 snaps // Hunter Henry 54
  • Tgs: Smith-5 // Henry-3
  • NE lined up in 12 personnel (2 TEs) 49%, 2nd most of any team wk 1

Zach Wilson

  • NYJ threw on 72% of their offensive plays (5th most)
  • Wilson finished Wk 1 24th in QBR
  • He lost 51 yds from sacks (2nd most)
  • And took 6 sacks which tied for the most (Tannehill)
  • Wilson had pressure on 51.2% of his dropbacks, 3rd most
  • When under pressure, Wilson completed 31.3% of his passes, 5th lowest in Wk 1
  • NE generated pressure on 13/29 Tua Tagovailoa’s dropbacks last week
  • Rookie QBs vs Pats since 2010: 14 TDs:21 INTs
  • Wilson’s T2T (2.84) was 8th longest of all QBs last week
  • He was 2:6:62:1 TD on throws 20+ yds 

NYJ WRs:

  • Wk 1 Snap %: Corey Davis-92% // Eijah Moore-88% // Braxton Berrios-57% // Jeff Smith-11%
  • No NYJ receiver had more than seven tgs (Davis, Berrios)
  • There were eight NYJ receivers who caught a pass.  
  • Davis turned 5 rec into 97 yds (19.4 avg) and 2 TDs

NYJ RBs:

  • NYJ snap %: Ty Johnson-51% // Tevin Coleman-26% // Michael Carter-25%
  • WK 1: NE allowed 23:74 rush yds  // NYJ rushed for 17:45
  • No NYJ RB had 10+ carries & they only had 5 total RB tgs

NYJ TEs:

  • Tyler Kroft: 66% snaps, 5 tgs, 3:26
  • Ryan Griffin: 49% snaps, 6 tgs, 3:22

Kickoff Sunday, Sep 19th 1:00pm Eastern

Broncos (
25.5) at

Jaguars (
19.5)

Over/Under 45.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Broncos Run D
8th DVOA/4th Yards allowed per carry
Jaguars Run O
22nd DVOA/26th Yards per carry
Broncos Pass D
10th DVOA/5th Yards allowed per pass
Jaguars Pass O
30th DVOA/23rd Yards per pass
Jaguars Run D
15th DVOA/25th Yards allowed per carry
Broncos Run O
5th DVOA/5th Yards per carry
Jaguars Pass D
28th DVOA/27th Yards allowed per pass
Broncos Pass O
4th DVOA/11th Yards per pass

GAME OVERVIEW ::

BY MJohnson86 >>
  • Both teams will likely have a “spread the wealth” attack
  • Denver should have a fairly significant advantage at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball
  • One team was hampered by self-inflicted mistakes in Week 1 and the other played a very clean game
  • Denver is a conservative, win with defense type of team by nature and Jacksonville is likely to try to slow the game down to stay competitive and protect Trevor Lawrence
  • Likeliest game flow is a slow game with a chance of Denver pulling away sooner than expected if Jacksonville makes the same mistakes they did in their season opener

HOW Denver WILL TRY TO WIN ::

Denver should be efficient as they move the ball against the talent-deficient defense of Jacksonville. Teddy Bridgewater is not a high-end QB but what he does extremely well is make good decisions and take care of the ball. Denver has playmakers all over the field — while none of them would qualify as “elite” playmakers, they have two RBs, three WRs, and two TEs who would all qualify as “above average” at their positions. I would expect Denver to use a lot of motion, misdirection, and play action to take advantage of the undisciplined Jaguars defense. Denver has a big advantage on the offensive line and should be able to create big holes for their RBs and provide time when needed for Bridgewater. The passing attack will likely focus on short-area concepts that are high percentage completions and force the Jaguars to “prove it” by making tackles and not having breakdowns, rather than taking a lot of shots downfield and “wasting” downs. 

It is unlikely Denver will feel the need to be overly aggressive early in the game and will focus on moving the ball efficiently and getting points early to put the Jaguars in a hole. That will allow Denver’s defense to pin their ears back and cause chaos for Jacksonville’s offense.

HOW Jacksonville WILL TRY TO WIN ::

Jacksonville’s season opener was difficult to watch. Trevor Lawrence is “as-advertised” and has every tool you would want from a franchise QB — he controls the line of scrimmage and makes audibles as needed, goes through his progressions, has tremendous arm strength and accuracy, keeps his eyes downfield while scrambling, and has the ability to make off-platform throws. Unfortunately, he was put in nearly the most difficult situation you can imagine in his first game as a professional. The disheartening thing about it was this happened against what is expected to be one of the worst teams in the league in the Houston Texans. 

Watching that game, it was appalling how many self-inflicted mistakes (drops, penalties, and missed blocks) the players around Lawrence were making. Repeatedly on first down the Jaguars would commit a penalty, drop an on-target pass, or run for a short gain or loss. The first two possessions for the Jaguars were short-circuited by first down penalties that put them behind the chains and allowed the Texans to bring pressure and put Lawrence’s back against the wall. Their third possession almost had the same thing happen, except after an incompletion on a 3rd and 19 play the Texans committed a Roughing the Passer penalty that kept the drive alive and led to Jacksonville’s only first-half points. Lawrence also had two second quarter interceptions — both of which were ALSO preceded by offensive penalties that put them in long down and distance situations. After falling behind 27-7 at halftime, the Jaguars came out very conservatively to start the second half and had consecutive 3-and-out possessions to fall behind 34-7. The Jaguars did score two more touchdowns — one which was aided by another Roughing the Passer penalty on Houston and the other in garbage time with 0:09 left against Houston’s backups.

I normally wouldn’t go so in-depth about the previous week’s game in this situation, but I’m hoping for your sake you didn’t watch that game and I think that is all important context to consider when thinking about how Jacksonville will approach Week 2. The priority for Jacksonville should be putting Lawrence in better positions and there should be an emphasis on discipline and execution this week in practice. As a former college coach with an inflated ego, by all reports, Meyer has approached this season the same way he did with his college teams so it is somewhat comical to see the results play out in such a disorganized, undisciplined way. (Shocking that Meyer’s dictatorship tactics that he used as a means to get teenagers to fall in line have not worked with paid professionals at the highest level of their craft.)

Warren Sharp has spoken for years about the importance of early-down success as it creates favorable conditions for second and third down plays with shorter distances to gain. Assuming the Jaguars have any sense of themselves, I would expect a heavy dose of runs and short passes to start the game — hoping to sustain drives and get to halftime with the game within one score in either direction. The matchup on the outside is very difficult as Denver has an elite secondary and multiple pass rushers who can create havoc if Lawrence is forced to stand back in the pocket and wait for things to develop.

LIKELIEST GAME FLOW :: 

Denver should be able to move the ball fairly well in this game. Teddy Bridgewater makes good decisions with the ball and doesn’t lock onto one player — taking whatever the defense gives him as the path of least resistance. They have advantages at the line of scrimmage and there isn’t a spot they will need to avoid. The likeliest game flow is long possessions ending in points for Denver, with Jacksonville taking a conservative approach that will result in short possessions and punts or longer possessions and field goals — which direction that goes for Jacksonville will depend on if their offensive line can improve from their putrid Week 1 performance (which I expect they will).

This game will likely stay reasonably close through halftime, though the Broncos should be able to create some separation in the second half. If the Jaguars make the same sloppy mistakes they made last week, this timeline could get accelerated and speed things up on one side of the ball but the Broncos are unlikely to have a reason to match that speed.

DFS+ Interpretation ::

By Dwprix >>

Overview:

  • DEN is currently the 3rd largest favorite on the slate (-6)
  • On a 13 game slate, the 45 pt total is 10th highest 
  • 5 other games have a total over 50 this wk
  • JAX has lost 16 straight games & 7 straight at home
  • They’ve lost 12 straight to the AFC West
  • JAX D gave up 37 pts to Tyrod Taylor and the HOU offense last week
  • They’ve currently gave up 24+ pts in 16 straight games

Teddy Bridgewater:

  • Bridgewater led the league last week in QBR (95.6)
  • Wk 1: 28:36:255:2 TDs
  • Jax to Taylor last week: 21:33:289:2 TDs

DEN RBs:

  • 2nd rd rookie Javonte Williams led Melvin Gordon in carries 14 to 11.
  • Williams also out snapped him, 34-32
  • Gordon: 11:101:1 TD // Williams: 14:45:0 TDs // Bridgewater: 3:19 // Total: 165:2 TDs
  • Jax allowed 160:2 TDs to HOU last week.  

DEN WRs:

  • DEN lost Jerry Jeudy for up to 6 weeks from a high ankle sprain suffered in Wk 1
  • Jeudy played all 16 games last season
  • DEN beat writers speculate that Courtland Sutton still isn’t 100% after suffering an ACL injury last season
  • WK 1 Snap Share %: Courtland Sutton-80% // Tim Patrick-70% // Jeudy-56% // KJ Hamler-36%
  • WK1 WR Targets: Jeudy-7 // Tim Patrick-4 // KJ Hamler-4 // Sutton-3

Noah Fant:

  • Noah Fant led the team in tgs last week with 8
  • Only Darren Waller (19) & T.J. Hockenson (11) saw more at TE
  • Noah Fant targets last 6 games: 8 // 6 // 9 // 11 // 7

Trevor Lawrence:

  • DEN forced one Daniel Jones fumble last wk but no INTs
  • Lawrence threw 3 INTs (& 3 TDs)
  • He finished 31/32 in passer rating (70.1), only Aaron Rodgers was lower
  • Lawrence’s WRs dropped six passes 
  • JAX let Lawrence throw 51 times last wk, only Dak Prescott, Jared Goff, and Derek Carr threw more

JAC RBs:

  • WK 1 Snap%: James Robinson-63% // Carlos Hyde 34% 
  • Carries: Robinson-5 // Hyde-9 
  • Targets: Robinson-3 // Hyde 2
  • DEN allowed just 14:33 yds against NYG RBs (Saquon-10:26)

JAC WRs:

  • WR snap %: Marvin Jones-92% // DJ Chark-85% // Laviska Shenault-71% // Jamal Agnew-14% 
  • WR Targets: Chark 12 (only 3 rec)  // Shenault 10 // Jones 9 // 
  • DEN placed starting CB Ronald Darby on IR
  • Darby lined up on the right side of the field on 54/62 snaps last wk
  • JAX WRs % of snaps on right side: Jones-45% // Chark-34% 
  • DEN will start likely start rookie Patrick Surtain (9th overall) in place of Darby
  • JAX lined up in 11 personnel (3WRs) 75% of the time last wk
  • Chark, Shenault, and Jones combined to catch just 48% of their targets

JAC TEs:

  • James O’Shaughnessy saw 8 tgs last week.
  • Like DENs Fant, O’Shaughnessy’s 8 T-3rd most at TE wk1

Kickoff Sunday, Sep 19th 1:00pm Eastern

Bills (
25.75) at

Dolphins (
22.25)

Over/Under 48.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Bills Run D
7th DVOA/7th Yards allowed per carry
Dolphins Run O
18th DVOA/27th Yards per carry
Bills Pass D
3rd DVOA/2nd Yards allowed per pass
Dolphins Pass O
31st DVOA/30th Yards per pass
Dolphins Run D
22nd DVOA/28th Yards allowed per carry
Bills Run O
8th DVOA/6th Yards per carry
Dolphins Pass D
7th DVOA/12th Yards allowed per pass
Bills Pass O
28th DVOA/26th Yards per pass

GAME OVERVIEW ::

BY MJohnson86 >>
  • Buffalo is coming off of a disappointing home loss and flat offensive showing to start their season.
  • Miami is coming off of a big road win to start their season.
  • Both teams are better positioned this week for offensive success than they were in their season opener.
  • Josh Allen should have a clean pocket most of the day
  • Sneaky potential for an uptempo game

HOW BUffalo WILL TRY TO WIN ::

The Steelers showed a blueprint of how to slow down the Bills attack in Week 1, holding them far below their expectations by sitting back in coverage and not blitzing very often. This made it difficult for the Bills to move the ball or find openings in coverage to keep drives alive. Buffalo will likely need to increase their run rate against better defenses going forward to keep teams honest. Miami, however, doesn’t have anything close to the same pass rush and defensive line that the Steelers have, which makes sitting back in coverage a much more difficult proposition for them. On top of that, the Dolphins played man coverage at the highest rate in the league and it would be a huge change from their philosophies to switch things up and sit in zones. I would expect the Dolphins to stick with who they are and bring pressure and play man for this first matchup of the year with a divisional opponent. If it doesn’t work this time, they will likely make the adjustment for the second matchup, but the strength of their defense is in their premier CBs, so from a coaching perspective it would send a bad message to your team if you make a big change like that so early in the season — essentially telling your best defensive players you don’t think they can handle the matchup.

The Bills are going to start out with more runs than they used in Week 1, but the allure of man coverage will be too tempting to not attack with their elite receiving corps that is shifty and great at creating separation. On a similar mindset that we talked about for the Dolphins, Week 2 is too early for the Bills to make large-scale changes in how they play based on one down week — especially coming off of a season where they made the conference championship. Allen should once again throw the ball 40+ times and will likely use his legs more on scrambles against a blitzing defense that will turn its back to him while chasing WRs in man coverage.

HOW Miami WILL TRY TO WIN ::

Miami came out of Week 1 with a road victory at New England. While it wasn’t necessarily pretty on either side of the ball, they got the job done in a place that is never easy to play against a team that is always extremely well prepared in those games with extra preparation time. This week they are back home for another key divisional matchup, but their opponent could not be more different in terms of personnel and approach. While the Patriots want to pound the ball and play a ton of 12 personnel (two tight ends), the Bills throw at the highest rate in the league and play three or four wide receivers on the overwhelming majority of their offensive plays.

Miami has a smart coaching staff who understands the game and what it takes to win. While they have a good defense, their staff should understand that the Bills are going to score points and they need to score points early and often to have a chance rather than hoping to keep it close and then scrambling for points from behind. With Will Fuller back in the lineup, the Dolphins have playmakers and speed all over the field. The Bills bottled up Najee Harris in Week 1 and will likely not provide much room for the Dolphins’ run game either. With so many field stretchers and some players who are great with the ball in their hands, the Dolphins will likely be pass heavy while still being conscious of protecting QB Tua Tagovailoa and getting the ball out of his hands in a timely manner — as their offensive line has a lot of issues to overcome. When they do throw downfield, it will almost certainly be away from the Bills’ star CB Tre’Davious White — although he is unlikely to have a “shadow” matchup, so that really doesn’t tell us anything specific about a player likely to benefit. It is also noteworthy that Tua was moving very well in Week 1, now almost two years removed from the hip injury that hobbled him last season, and the Dolphins will likely get him out of the pocket on some designed plays to stretch the Bills defense.

LIKELIEST GAME FLOW :: 

Both teams played at a high pace and with a decent amount of no-huddle in Week 1. I would expect the same here as that is at the core of who the Bills are and the Dolphins are smart enough to know they need to be aggressive and score early to have a chance to win. The Dolphins two most successful drives in Week 1 were their drives where they used more no-huddle and played at an uptempo pace, which should not be lost on the coaching staff and, with Fuller back in the lineup, they have every reason to press their foot on the gas. In a divisional matchup where both teams know each other so well, there is a good chance this game starts somewhat slowly, but it has a high likelihood to pick up pace and scoring as the game wears on. The biggest threat to this game taking off would be the lack of a running game for both teams, which could cause some issues with red zone efficiency and keep the scoring in check even if volume and pace are up, as expected. However, both teams have deep threats and playmakers who can score from anywhere and QBs who are capable with their legs so that concern should not be a reason to completely stay away.

DFS+ Interpretation ::

By Alex88 >>

OVERALL

  • After one week, the Miami Dolphins stand atop the AFC East following a 17-16 road victory in New England
  • The Buffalo Bills fell at home to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1, 23-16
  • With Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB, the Bills beat the Dolphins in Miami 31-28 in Week 2 last season

Josh Allen

  • In 2019, the Bills were the worst passing offense when not using play-action (6.2 yards per attempt, 42% success, -0.12 expected points added per attempt)
  • They were one of three offenses to be below average passing without play-action, and above average passing with play action
  • In 2020, the Bills used play-action on 34% of their passes, second highest rate in the league. With play-action in 2020, they averaged 8.4 YPA, 56% success, and 0.22 EPA/att
  • In Week 1 against the Steelers, the Bills called play-action on only 19.6% of Allen’s dropbacks
  • Allen was under pressure on 41.1% of dropbacks, despite not being blitzed on 87.5% of dropbacks
  • He managed a 78.6 passer rating when under pressure, and 85.5 when not blitzed
  • On the 12.5% of dropbacks on which he was blitzed by Pittsburgh, Allen produced a 42.4 passer rating
  • Miami had New England’s Mac Jones under pressure on 35% of his dropbacks, with 47.5% of non-blitzed dropbacks and 52.5% with blitz
  • Last regular season, he averaged 35.8 passing attempts, 284 passing yards, 2.3 passing TDs, 6.4 rushing attempts, 26.3 rushing yards, and 0.5 rushing TDs per game
  • Allen was the league’s eighth best QB under pressure last year
  • In PFF grades, he was eighth in Week 1
  • In Week 1, Allen had a designed rush rate of 30%. For comparison, Kyler Murray & Jaylen Hurts were in the teens
  • Allen’s career DK point log versus Miami: 33.7 // 41.5 // 21.3 (first game against Brian Flores as HC) // 33.8 // 37.5 // 20.3 (30 point blowout, Allen played on only 54.7% of offensive snaps)
  • DK points in all games with 48+ point totals in 2020: 37.5 // 36.2 // 25.4 // 18.3 // 39 // 29.4 // 34.1 // 40.7 // 20.3

BUF WRs

  • In 2020, Buffalo ran 4 WR sets second most often in the league, 186 plays. They ran 4 WR set plays in 2019 a total of four times
  • In Week 1, Buffalo ran 3 WR sets 52%, 4 WR 32%, and 5 WR 13%
  • That rate of 4 WR sets was tops in Week 1, and nearly twice as often as the second most (Arizona with 18%)
  • Three out of the top 4 receivers in pass snaps in Week 1 came from Buffalo
  • Last year, Stefon Diggs led the NFL in receptions (127) and receiving yards (1,535)
  • Diggs averaged 10.4 targets, 7.9 receptions, 95.9 yards in 16 games last season
  • Diggs only managed 8 TDs in 2020
  • Diggs DK points in 48+ point total games: 32.3 // 14.9 // 20.5 // 23.6 // 23.8 // 25.3 // 19.2 // 28.7 // 14.6
  • In Week 1, Diggs had a 28.6% team target share on 14 targets, good for ninth among all players in the league
  • Diggs DK totals against Miami last season: 32.3 // 14.6 (only 48.4% of snaps played)
  • Cole Beasley led the NFL in receiving yards from the slot (948) last season
  • Cole averaged 7.1 targets, 5.5 receptions, and 64.5 yards in 15 games last year
  • Cole’s DK points in 48+ point total games: 12 // 19 // 12.2 // 11.3 // 6.9 // 30.9 // 31 // 22.2
  • In Week 1, Cole spent 98.4% of his snaps in the slot, second most in the league among players with more than one target
  • Cole received 12 targets for 8 receptions and 60 yards, and earned a 55.1 PFF grade
  • In Week 1, New England’s Jakobi Meyers ran the most routes in the slot against Miami. On 9 targets, Meyers produced 6 catches and 44 yards against the Dolphins secondary
  • Emmanuel Sanders played on 58 pass snaps in Week 1
  • Sanders lined up out wide on 2/3rds of his snaps, and in the slot on the other third
  • He turned 7 targets into 4 receptions and 52 yards, with an ADoT of 20.9
  • Gabriel Davis DK points in 48+ point total games in 2020: 7.6 // 12.1 // 9.6 // 10.8 // 17 // 0 // 15.8 // 3.8 // 21.7
  • In Week 1, Davis played on only 38 pass snaps, 20 less than Sanders
  • That still ranked 36th in the league
  • Davis had 2 receptions on 5 targets for 40 yards, but did score a TD
  • Dawson Knox was on the field for only 28 pass snaps, but he did catch all 4 of his targets for 41 yards
  • The two star TEs for New England, Hunter Henry & Jonnu Smith, combined to catch 8 of 8 targets, for 73 yards versus Miami last week

BUF RBs

  • Bills RBs combined for 21.5 touches per game last year (30th), for 106.7 yards from scrimmage (28th)
  • Bills RBs combined for an average 5.0 yards per touch (12th)
  • In 13 games as a rookie, Zack Moss had 126 touches (9.7 per game), 576 yards (44.3), and 5 TDs
  • Devin Singletary out-touched Moss 142-126 in their games played together, but Moss eight opportunities inside of the five yard line, to Singletary’s three
  • Moss DK points in 48+ point total games: 3.7 // 12.8 // 2.7 // 2.4 // 8.1 // 3.1
  • Moss was a healthy scratch in Week 1
  • Singletary’s DK points in 48+ point total games: 9.6 // 16.1 // 18.7 // 4.3 // 6.4 // 2 // 11.3 // 17.4 // 2.3
  • Singletary was the only RB to touch the ball in Week 1
  • On 16 snaps, he had 11 attempts for 72 yards but fumbled twice for a PFF grade of 49

 Tua Tagovailoa

  • Tua ranked 30th in yards per attempt
  • He ranked 27th in expected points added per dropback
  • In 11 personnel: -0.17 EPA/att, 49% success, 6.3 YPA
  • In 12 personnel: 0.25 EPA/att, 62% success, 7.9 YPA
  • The Dolphins passed in 11 personnel on 65% of their plays last season
  • They used 12 personnel 24% of the time
  • The Dolphins have new Co-Offensive Coordinators in 2021
  • In Week 1, they ran 11 personnel 48% of snaps and 12 personnel 37%
  • Tua’s rating when pressured ranked 35th in the NFL
  • Tua’s DK points in his rookie year, with 40+ snaps: 6.7 // 21.4 // 14.7 // 7.3 // 16.1 // 28 // 19.7 // 8.9 // 21.2 (in a must win Week 17 road game @ BUF, which MIA lost by 30 points)
  • Tua’s statline on the road in New England Week 1: 16/27 – 202 – 1 – 1 passing & 4 – 1 – 1 rushing for 17.2 DK points

MIA Passing Attack

  • Parker averaged 7.4 targets in 14 games last season (11 starts)
  • Gesicki averaged 5.7 targets in 15 games last year
  • Week 1, without Will Fuller, Miami WRs & TEs combined for just 9 receptions on 19 targets, totaling 151 yards and 1 TD (Waddle)
  • DeVante Parker ran routes lined up wide at an 85.7% rate. With an ADoT of 13.6 and 20.3 yards per catch, he scored 12.1 DK points
  • Jaylen Waddle ran routes lined up in the slot at a 75% rate. WIth an ADoT of 10.2 and 15.3 YPC, he scored 16.1 DK points
  • No other Dolphins WR scored fantasy points
  • Mike Gesicki was targeted 3 times but produced nothing to show for it & fellow TE Durham Smythe caught 1 ball on 2 targets for 9 yards
  • In their Week 1 road win at Buffalo, Pittsburgh attacked the Bills with 11 personnel on 78% of plays, fourth most frequent in the league
  • PFF grades for the Bills CBs after Week 1: 50.3 & 49
  • Grades for Dolphins WRs: 72.7 (Waddle) & 82.9 (Parker)
  • Fuller’s grade last year: 86.2
  • Fuller’s DK totals in outdoor games last season: 22.2 // 0 // 15.4 // 27.3 // 24 // 8.8

MIA RBs

  • In Week 1, Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed combined for seven receptions on eight targets, netting 51 yards
  • Gaskin’s rushing line: 9 – 49, with the receiving production he scored 12.6 DK points
  • Ahmed’s rushing line: 3 – 4, scoring 4.8 DK points
  • Malcolm Brown chipped in 5 attempts for 16 yards
  • In Week 1, the Bills defense held Najee Harris to just 5.9 DK points despite playing 100% of the offensive snaps
  • Gaskin’s DK point totals last year: 10.6 // 14.2 (vs. BUF) // 14.5 // 9.2 // 20.1 // 16.6 // 14.3 // 15.1 // 33.9 // 17.7 (@ BUF)
  • Ahmed’s DK point totals last season, in games with at least 25% of snaps: 3.8 // 16 // 12.4 // 24.7 // 13.8 (@ BUF)

Kickoff Sunday, Sep 19th 1:00pm Eastern

49ers (
26) at

Eagles (
23)

Over/Under 49.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
49ers Run D
16th DVOA/27th Yards allowed per carry
Eagles Run O
10th DVOA/2nd Yards per carry
49ers Pass D
11th DVOA/15th Yards allowed per pass
Eagles Pass O
12th DVOA/22nd Yards per pass
Eagles Run D
18th DVOA/19th Yards allowed per carry
49ers Run O
16th DVOA/9th Yards per carry
Eagles Pass D
6th DVOA/3rd Yards allowed per pass
49ers Pass O
5th DVOA/15th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By MJohnson86 >>
  • San Francisco had many positives from their season opening win, but also showed some issues that a better opponent may expose
  • Both teams will face more resistance at the line of scrimmage than they faced Week 1
  • From a “matchup” perspective, both teams had close to as optimal of a situation as they could ask for to start the season
  • These teams were predictable, albeit with a spread the wealth approach, when playing while in control of the game; if one team takes a substantial lead here, how they react will be less predictable or certain

How San Francisco Will Try To Win ::

The 49ers will attempt to control this game at the line of scrimmage and put Jimmy Garropolo in manageable situations throughout the game. The reduced playing time of Brandon Aiyuk and the season-ending injury of Raheem Mostert significantly alter the makeup of the San Francisco offense from a playmaking standpoint. With Mostert out and rookie Trey Sermon in, it is anyone’s guess how the backfield touches will be deployed. The Eagles are historically above average against TEs and after watching Week 1 will likely be prepared to give extra attention to Deebo Samuel. This has the feeling of a bit of a standoff as the Eagles are unlikely to get torched by any specific SF player but also are unlikely to completely shut down any specific avenue for production.

The 49ers will likely attempt to assert themselves on the ground and use play-action or other means of misdirection to create advantages early against an aggressive Eagles defense. In an ideal world, their defense will contain the Eagles and they will sustain methodical, efficient drives and punctuate them with touchdowns. While this outcome is far from a certainty, the 49ers are well coached and have a veteran heavy roster that could execute at a high level and take control early.

How Philadelphia Will Try To Win ::

The Eagles have what appears to be a franchise cornerstone QB, top 5 offensive line, and speedy playmakers at the skill positions. Jalen Hurts gives them a chance to win any game with his dynamic playmaking ability and what he has shown to be above average decision making. With dynamic playmaker Miles Sanders and explosive rookie Kenny Gainwell in the backfield, the Eagles will stretch opposing defenses horizontally and force them to respect many different run game concepts from the opening kick. The Eagles also have a variety of weapons in the pass game in their dependable and playmaking TEs in Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, as well as a trio of playmaking WRs in Devonta Smith, Jalen Reagor, and Quez Watkins. I would expect many read-option type of looks early from the Eagles, as well as some play-action or double-move type of shot plays that attempt to exploit an aggressive 49ers defense. The 49ers gave up 33 points to the Lions who were led by Jared Goff in Week 1; while I expect them to perform better in a more competitive game, it is worth noting that they had many flaws against a talent deficient offense and the Eagles are much more likely to exploit any deficiencies from the start.

Likeliest Game Flow :: 

Both teams are likely to sustain drives but encounter difficulty turning those drives into a large number of points. The likeliest game flow is the Eagles controlling the line of scrimmage on the offensive side and moving the ball consistently (as the Lions were able to do when they provided adequate protection for Goff). The 49ers are likely to turn to their run game and play action as a means to protect Garoppolo in this spot. While Kyle Shanahan has a pissing match with his possible superstar WR, Brandon Aiyuk, the 49ers may struggle to move the ball early in the game. The reality is that, as great of an offensive mind as Shanahan is, the 49ers can’t just move one of their best players into a part-time role and expect to move the ball consistently against a respectable defense. In this scenario, the 49ers will likely be spreading their rushes between two or three running backs while trying to get the ball out of Jimmy G’s hands quickly on passing plays to Deebo and George Kittle (or a plethora of other “meh” skill position players). On the other side of the ball, the Eagles are likely to test and stretch the 49ers defense horizontally first with misdirection and read-option concepts and then vertically with shot plays to their elite speed options.

This should be a competitive game throughout. Both teams are well coached and have enough talent on the defensive side of the ball to keep the game from getting out of hand either way. Meanwhile, neither team is likely to completely abandon their identity (rushes and short passes followed by YAC) at any point before the 4th quarter unless somehow they are facing an extreme deficit.

DFS+ Interpretation ::

By Dwprix >>

Overview: 

  • Total as of Tuesday evening is the 5th highest on the slate and has risen 2 pts from 48 to 50
  • The line has moved a half pt towards the 49ers (3 to 3.5)
  • Wk 1 PHI was a 3.5 pt dog & won by 26.
  • Kyle Shanahan and Doug Pederson have faced each other twice as HC, Pederson is 2-0.
  • The most recent game between these two was last season, the Eagles winning on the road 25-20
  • In 55 offensive snaps last wk (26th), SF scored 34 pts (Def had one TD)
  • In 25 first half snaps, SF scored 28 pts.
  • PHI ran 67 offensive plays, scoring 32 pts

SF QBs: 

  • Wk 1 Snap %: Garoppolo-93% // Lance-7%
  • In 33 career starts, Garoppolo has just 6 300+ yd game, one of which came last week
  • Garoppolo is now 23-8 as a starter for SF
  • His T2T (2.3 sec) was the 2nd fastest of all QBs Wk1, only Ben Roethlisberger got the ball out quicker
  • His yds/pass (12.6) led the league last wk

SF RBs: 

  • Raheem Mostert played four snaps before being injured and is done for the season
  • 3rd rd rookie Trey Sermon was announced as a surprise inactive prior to kickoff
  • 6th rd rookie Elijah Mitchell was active instead.  Shanahan said Sermon was a little ahead of Mitchell coming when camp was finished, partly due to injury.
  • Wk 1 Snap %: Mitchell-64% // JaMycal Hasty-29%
  • Rush att %: Mitchell-69% (19 carries) // Hasty-4% (1 carry)
  • Mitchell: 19:104:1TD 

SF WRs:

  • Wk 1 Snap %: Samuel-84% // Trent Sherfield-49% // Brandon Aiyuk-47% // Mohamed Sanu-36% // Jauan Jennings-11%

Beat writers believe Aiyuk might be in Shanahan’s doghouse

  • Deebo Samuel received 53% of the targets (12) Wk 1 going 9:189:1TD
  • SF ran 11 personnel (3 WRs) just 36% of the time.  Only HOU, ATL, and ARZ were lower
  • They ran 21 personnel (2 WRs, 2 RBs) 29% of the time, most in the league

George Kittle:

  • Kittle went 4:78 on 5 targets in Week 1
  • PHI ranked 23rd last season giving up 13.8 DK pts/g
  • Wk 1 PHI gave 13.9 DK pts on 12 targets but held Kyle Pitts in check giving up just 4:31 yds

Jalen Hurts:  

  • In five career starts, Hurts has avg 26.94 DK pts/game
  • Two of those games have exceeded 300 pass yds
  • Hurts DK pts: 28.76 // 23.28 // 40.82 // 24.58 // 17.3 
  • Rush attempts by game (most recent 1st): 7 // 8 // 9 // 11 // 18
  • SF had 31 pressures on 71 pass plays with 3 sacks.
  • Hurts had the 6th longest time to throw of all QBs last week.

PHI RBs:

  • Wk 1 Snap %: Miles Sanders-66% // Kenneth Gainwell- 35% 
  • Sanders and Gainwell were the only RBs to see the field, Boston Scott saw 0 offensive snaps
  • Sanders has 14+ digit rush attempts in 6 straight games: 15 // 14 // 15 // 17 // 14 
  • He’s also been targeted a good amount: 5 // 5 // 6 // 2 // 5
  • Gainwell had 3 tgs last week

PHI WRs:

  • In a game in which they were leading the entire time (besides ATL’s 1st drive), PHI still ran 11 personnel (3 WRs) 59% of the time
  • Snap %: DeVonta Smith-87% // Jalen Reagor-70% // Quez Watkins-48% // JJ Whiteside-23% // Greg Ward-23%
  • SF lost starting corner Jason Verett for the season last week

PHI TEs:

  • Wk 1 Snap %: Dallas Goedert-73% // Zach Ertz-58% // Jack Stoll-17%
  • Goedert: 5 tgs //  Ertz: 2 tgs

Kickoff Sunday, Sep 19th 1:00pm Eastern

Rams (
25.75) at

Colts (
21.75)

Over/Under 47.5

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Notes

Key Matchups
Rams Run D
19th DVOA/20th Yards allowed per carry
Colts Run O
27th DVOA/16th Yards per carry
Rams Pass D
4th DVOA/11th Yards allowed per pass
Colts Pass O
24th DVOA/19th Yards per pass
Colts Run D
13th DVOA/18th Yards allowed per carry
Rams Run O
17th DVOA/25th Yards per carry
Colts Pass D
29th DVOA/17th Yards allowed per pass
Rams Pass O
2nd DVOA/7th Yards per pass

GAME OVERVIEW::

By Hilow >>
  • Not much to love from this one from a “guaranteed points” perspective – floors are mostly scary low
  • Jonathan Taylor gains some appeal for his heavy involvement in the Colts offense, but the matchup is less than ideal
  • Rams defense may gain steam as the week progresses, but I don’t like betting on low pressure rate defensive lines against solid offensive lines

HOW LOS ANGELES WILL TRY TO WIN::

First of all, this offense is so much more fun to watch with a quarterback capable of attacking all areas of the field. The Rams ran only 52 offensive plays in a Week 1 dismantling of the Bears and held a very modest 54% situation-neutral pass rate. The offensive snap rates played out largely as we thought they would, with tight end Tyler Higbee leading the way with a full 100% snap rate, followed by Cooper Kupp at a  94% snap rate (tied with running back Darrell Henderson, who I expect to see his snaps gradually decrease as Sony Michel learns the offense), Robert Woods at 77%, Van Jefferson at 69%, and offseason addition DeSean Jackson at 27%. 20 of Matthew Stafford’s 26 pass attempts filtered through the three primary pass-catchers (Kupp: 10, Higbee: 6, Woods: 4). Expect the Rams to continue to play with pace in neutral to negative game scripts, allow their top-rated defense to provide good field position and additional possessions, and remain aggressive with the ball as the year goes on.

As previously mentioned, Darrell Henderson played a massive 94% of the offensive snaps run from scrimmage in Week 1 and saw 17 of 18 total running back opportunities. His snap rate and opportunity share was a full 100% until deep into the game when Sony Michel saw his one carry. I expect this to turn into a loose committee once Sony learns a complex offense and run scheme, which could be as soon as this week or could take a few weeks. Henderson saw only one target on 16 routes run, but the Rams largely didn’t need much as they cruised to an easy victory. I expect Henderson to lead the way once again with Sony likely mixing in for 15-20% of the offensive snaps. The matchup is a poor one against a top three run defense from 2020, even after the Colts surrendered 5.37 adjusted line yards in Week 1.

The aerial attack is where the majority of the fantasy value on this team lies. Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, and Tyler Higbee are all borderline every-snap players in a high-powered passing offense. The biggest news out of this game as far as injuries go lies with the Colts second level as both All-World linebacker Darius Leonard and lockdown corner Xavier Rhodes have yet to practice this week (as of Thursday). Leonard missing would be a large boost to the Rams offense overall but a massive boost to Tyler Higbee, while Rhodes’ absence would again benefit the entire Rams offense but be a massive boost to both Kupp and Woods. Consider all three high, high ceiling plays here. The Colts continue to struggle with the deep ball, providing further intrigue for the speed of Van Jefferson and DeSean Jackson.

HOW INDIANAPOLIS WILL TRY TO WIN::

The Colts landed in the middle of the pack with respect to situation-neutral pass rate in Week 1 at 58%, right in line with their 56% rate from 2020. The limitations placed on the offense through Carson Wentz should not be understated as his 6.6 yards per completion places him in the bottom three in the league. This offense should continue to flow through the running backs, with low upside passing mixed in.

The ground game flows through Jonathan Taylor, who also saw additional pass game usage in Week 1 compared to his previous roles (seven targets). The fantasy prospectus for this Colts run game depends largely on the health of their offensive line as two members of one of last season’s top-rated offensive lines worked their way back from offseason surgeries. The matchup is middling on paper after the Colts struggled to sustain a push up front against the solid run defense of the Seahawks. The matchup yields an average net-adjusted line yards metric of 4.17.

The biggest surprise from Week 1 through the air was the heavy involvement of both running backs in the pass game. Colts running backs accounted for 15 of the 38 total targets, split eight to seven in favor of Taylor over Hines. With TY Hilton still out, expect Michael Pittman, Jr. and Zach Pascal to continue to operate as the starting wide receivers, with both Parris Campbell and rookie Mike Strachan mixing in for three-wide sets. Keep an eye on Strachan, tight end Jack Doyle, and offensive linemen Quenton Nelson’s injury statuses leading up to the game as all three have either yet to practice or have gotten in only one limited practice as of Thursday. As alluded to earlier, the pass game is primarily short and intermediate work and of the low upside variety. 

LIKELIEST GAME FLOW::

It is likely up to the Colts to keep pace here the way this game lines up. Expect them to start the game attempting to control the time of possession battle but eventually be forced to move the ball via increased short-area passing and long, sustained drives. This should lead to a scenario where the Rams assert control of the game rather early and can run a conservative offense deeper into the game. With this type of set up, we shouldn’t expect a spike to volume for the primary pass-catchers out of the Rams, and the Colts spread the ball enough (and are low-upside enough) to limit much of the fantasy appeal from the game overall. 

DFS+ Interpretation ::

By Alex88 >>

OVERVIEW

  • LA Rams PFF team grades after Week 1: Overall – 1st, Offense – 1st, Defense – 2nd, Special Teams – 19th
  • Indianapolis Colts PFF team grades after Week 1: Overall – 23rd, Offense – 21st, Defense – 22nd, Special Teams – 24th

Matthew Stafford

  • Stafford’s 156.1 passer rating in Week 1 vs. Chicago was the highest ever by a player in his debut with a new team
  • He completed 20 passes out of 26 attempts, for 321 yards and three TDs
  • Stafford’s 12.3 yards per attempt set a career high
  • 33.3% of the Rams passing plays went for 15+ yards, highest rate for Week 1
  • On play-action passes, Stafford was a perfect 8/8, with 155 yards and 2 TDs
  • The Rams called play action on 29.6% of dropbacks
  • In Week 1, the Colts defense allowed Russell Wilson to complete 5 out of 7 throws for 10+ yards (including 4/6 20+), for 159 yards and 3 TDs
  • Stafford’s DK points in games, where he played 100% of the snaps, that ended with 47+ points scored, from ‘20 – Week 1: 17.2 // 17.2 // 18.5 // 23.3 // 13.3 // 27.4 (vs. IND) // 23 // 17.1 // 30.1 // 23.6 // 27.3

LAR Passing Attack

  • In Stafford’s immaculate Week 1, Cooper Kupp led the team in targets (9), receptions (7), receiving yards (108), DK points (26.8) and PFF grade (81.5)
  • Kupp spent 71.4% of his snaps lined up out of the slot, pacing the team
  • Kupp’s DK point totals in the 2018 regular season, during their Super Bowl run with Jared Goff at QB (with at least 50% snaps): 17.8 // 12.3 // 16.8 // 40.2 // 21 // 19.9 // 8.9
  • 29 year old Robert Woods finished third on the team in targets for Week 1 (4)
  • He managed only three catches for 27 yards, and the lowest yards per reception out of any player on the team
  • Woods had the second lowest yards after catch per reception, with only 2.5
  • In the Super Bowl season, here are the regular season DK point totals for Woods in any game with 50+% of the snaps: 7.3 // 14.1 // 36.7 // 24.1 // 19.5 // 22.1 // 13.4 // 12 // 12.5 // 14.6 // 17.2 // 18.8 // 13.1 // 16.3 // 28.4 // 4.5 (lowest snap share at only 69.9%)
  • Van Jefferson assumed the WR 3 role with the departure of Josh Reynolds
  • In Week 1, he got the scoring party started with a 67 yard TD reception
  • He ended the game with two receptions on three targets, for 80 yards and a score
  • As a rookie last regular season, Van had one game with a snap % above 50%. He produced his highest DK point total of the season with 9 points
  • In the divisional round of the playoffs, Van played on 86% of the snaps and had six receptions on seven targets, for 46 yards and a score
  • Newcomer DeSean Jackson’s average depth of target in Week 1 was only 8.0, lowest of all targeted WRs
  • Tyler Higbee had a 100% snap rate in Week 1
  • He managed five catches for 68 yards (on six targets, second most for the team)
  • Since 2019, when he became a relevant fantasy name, here are Higbee’s DK point totals in regular season games with 85% snap rate or greater: 26.7 // 21.6 // 26.1 // 22.4 // 22.4 // 7 // 28.4 // 5.4

LAR RBs

  • In Week 1, Darrell Henderson was on the field for 49 out of 52 total offensive snaps. Sony Michel had only three
  • Henderson had 16 rushing attempts for 70 yards and a TD & one reception on one target for 17 yards
  • DK total: 15.7 points
  • Henderson has only had two other games above 50% snaps, one for 53.3% & the other 55.6%
  • Those DK totals: 9.2 // 9.6
  • In relief of Came Akers last season, Henderson totaled: 20.1 // 22 // 4.7 // 21.8 // 9.2 // 9.6 // 6.2

Carson Wentz

  • Carson Wentz with play-action from 2018-2019: 8.4 yards per attempt, 52% success, 0.14 expected points added/attempt
  • Without play-action: 6.5 YPA, 48% success, -0.03 EPA/att
  • Wentz in ‘20 with play-action: 5.8 YPA, 38% success, -0.26 EPA/att
  • In 2019, Frank Reich’s Colts used play-action on 33% of their pass attempts, sixth-highest in the NFL
  • In 2020, with Philip Rivers as QB, their EPA/att and success rate decreased under play-action, so Reich reduced the usage to seventh-lowest in the NFL
  • In Week 1 against Seattle, the Colts ran play-action on only 18.2% of Wentz’s dropbacks
  • On the seven attempts made, six went for completions (85.7% completion) with an average yards per attempt of 10.1
  • They went without play-action on 81.8% of dropbacks, for a 61.3% completion rate and only 5.8 yards per attempt but they did score both passing TDs
  • His DK point total for Week 1 was 19.3 points
  • In 2017, when Wentz paved Philadelphia’s path to the eventual Super Bowl while under Reich’s wing, Wentz scored: 23.9 // 28.8 // 13.2 // 15.1 // 31.3 // 22.4 // 32 // 18.1 // 24.8 // 20 // 24 // 21.9 // 28.2

IND Passing Attack

  • Running back Nyheim Hines led the Colts in receptions last year
  • No player hit 100 targets
  • TY Hilton came closest with 93
  • With TY hurt, here are the target totals in Week 1: Nyheim Hines – 8, Jonathan Taylor – 7, Zach Pascal – 5, Michael Pittman – 4, Jack Doyle – 4, Parris Campbell – 3, Mike Strachan – 2, Mo Alie-Cox – 2
  • Taylor led the team in receiving yards with 60, Hines was second with 48
  • Pascal scored the only 2 TDs for the team, to go with 4 catches and 43 yards
  • He had an 88.9% slot percentage in Week 1
  • Among WRs & TEs, Pascal’s 20.3 DK points was the only notable score in Week 1
  • Pascal’s DK totals in games that ended with 47+ points in 2020: 3.8 // 3.5 // 15.4 // 7.4 // 7.3 // 8.4 // 3.3 // 3.7 // 24.9 // 15.4
  • Pittman’s DK totals in games with the same criteria: 3 // 1.6 // 22.2 // 15.6 // 4.8 // 9.6 // 6.5 // 3.9 // 6.8
  • Pittman had a 78.7% outside alignment percentage in Week 1
  • Parris Campbell had a single catch for 24 yards
  • Parris lined up outside on 87.1% of his snaps
  • Doyle’s DK totals (with at least 50% offensive snaps): 7.9 // 0 // 10.9 // 9.8 // 7.6 // 7.4 // 3.4 // 9
  • Mo: 4.9 // 2.6 // 3.9
  • Mo’s only two games with double digit DK points came in games where Doyle did not record a snap or any fantasy points

IND RBs

  • In ‘20, Colts RBs averaged 32.7 touches per game
  • That was second in the league
  • They collectively led the league in yards from scrimmage per game (174.9)
  • They were sixth in yards per touch (5.4)
  • In the final six games of the NFL regular season, Jonathan Taylor had 133 touches for 837 yards and eight TDs
  • Taylor had 17 carries in Week 1, in a losing game script, plus the aforementioned 8 targets that became 6 catches for 60 yards (which led the team)
  • Those carries accounted for 65% of the RB rush share (57% of the team share when including the 4 carries by Wentz) and generated 56 yards, half of the team rushing yardage total
  • Despite 4 touches inside the 10 (three carries & one target), Taylor was unable to find the end zone and finished with 17.6 DK points
  • In 2020 games with 47+ points, Taylor’s DK totals were: 14.9 // 15.4 // 15.5 // 5.1 // 5.7 // 15.4 // 33.5 // 19.5 // 19.4
  • When filtering for wins only no matter the final score: 22 // 13.2 // 8.9 // 15.5 // 5.1 // 5.7 // 15.4 // 22.5 // 33.5 // 19.5 // 41.4
  • In losses: 14.9 // 15.4 // 10.4 // 19.4
  • The Colts are 4 point home underdogs
  • Nyheim Hines DK totals in losses in ‘20: 27.3 // 5 // 5.8 // 17.5 // 10.4
  • Hines in wins: 1.4 // 10.1 // 6.2 // 7.7 // 21.2 // 28.5 // 8.3 // 12.2 // 11.5 // 7.4 // 12.7
  • In the Week 1 loss to the Seahawks, Hines scored 14.2 DK points from nine carries for 34 yards & six catches on eight targets for 48 yards

Kickoff Sunday, Sep 19th 1:00pm Eastern

Raiders (
20.5) at

Steelers (
26)

Over/Under 46.5

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Notes

Key Matchups
Raiders Run D
12th DVOA/16th Yards allowed per carry
Steelers Run O
28th DVOA/32nd Yards per carry
Raiders Pass D
17th DVOA/16th Yards allowed per pass
Steelers Pass O
17th DVOA/18th Yards per pass
Steelers Run D
4th DVOA/10th Yards allowed per carry
Raiders Run O
31st DVOA/30th Yards per carry
Steelers Pass D
19th DVOA/29th Yards allowed per pass
Raiders Pass O
10th DVOA/1st Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By Hilow >>
  • Expect volume for Diontae Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster over the short areas of the field against a defensive scheme designed to limit yards after the catch
  • The snap rates, usage numbers, and opportunity shares for every Raider not named Darren Waller leave secondary Raider options completely off the table in a difficult matchup
  • Darren Waller could legitimately lead the league in targets, a highly valuable proposition from a tight end position devoid of bankable production

How Las Vegas Will Try To Win ::

Vegas called 26 pass plays to only 10 rush plays in the first half of their MNF game against the Ravens, ending with 56 pass attempts to just 21 rush attempts. Now, does that indicate a philosophical shift away from the heavy situation-neutral rush rates from 2020 (44%, ninth highest in the league), or might it require a little more nuance? Starting running back Josh Jacobs was noticeably less than 100% after being out or limited for most of the practice week leading up to the game. Furthermore, the duo of Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams form one of the top run-stopping defensive line units in the league. Might this be more a case of specific game planning? In my opinion, it is much more likely to be the latter. On a standard week, we should still expect the Raiders to be a run-balanced team, capable of hitting all three depths of the field through the passing game if required to do so. This game, however, is not expected to be a standard week for them.

The matchup on the ground yields a below average 3.5 net-adjusted line yards metric, and Josh Jacobs is still nursing both foot and toe injuries, having missed practices on Wednesday and Thursday. I would tentatively expect him to play but be rather limited in both snap rate and efficiency. One thing we know from this Raiders offense is their propensity to punch the ball into the end zone on the ground, with Jacobs rushing for two more scores Week 1 on only 10 carries. But poor matchup, poor health, and likely neutral to negative game script have this backfield a complete stay away for me.

Through the air, the offense starts and mostly stops with tight end Darren Waller. We all found out fairly quickly how well relying on previous year’s data can burn you as recently as TJ Hockenson versus the Niners, but this Steelers unit finished 2020 allowing the second fewest fantasy points per game to the tight end position, second only to the aforementioned Niners. In their Week 1 stunning overtime win, Darren Waller was the only member of the Raiders (outside of quarterback Derek Carr) to play more than two-thirds of the offensive snaps run from scrimmage. Quite telling, no? Bryan Edwards, Henry Ruggs III, Foster Moreau, Hunter Renfrow, Josh Jacobs, and Kenyan Drake all played between 66% and 48% of the offensive snaps. I look for that to continue here in what should be considered a difficult matchup from top to bottom.

How Pittsburgh Will Try To Win ::

A year after finishing second in the league in situation-neutral pass rate at 65%, the Steelers came out and held a rate of 62% in the same metric in Week 1. Ben Roethlisberger simply does not have the arm strength he once did, and the struggles of the young offensive line remained, leaving a majority of that passing work to fall in the short to intermediate variety in Week 1. Overall, the identity of this team continues to revolve around a suffocating defense and a short to intermediate passing game. One interesting tidbit: the Steelers failed to blitz even once in Week 1, which was likely more a tribute to the escapability of opposing quarterback Josh Allen than it was a sign of things to come this season. It is possible, maybe even probable, we see the Steelers elect to keep their blitz rates low once again here, but for different reasons. With no blitz, the additional personnel can be dedicated inside to blanket coverage on the Raiders’ primary weapon: Darren Waller. This makes the most sense to me from a likely game planning approach, particularly considering the injuries to Raiders running back Josh Jacobs and the organic pressure rates the Steelers defensive line is able to generate on their own.

In what developed into a true slugfest, the Steelers struggled to get anything going on the ground against the Bills, averaging a disparagingly low 2.8 yards per running back carry. The matchup is perceived to be a good one on the ground this week, but the Raiders just held the top run offense in the game to an obscene 3.56 adjusted line yards metric and Pittsburgh displayed a downright putrid 2.60 adjusted line yards metric in their first game. Together it yields a net-adjusted line yards metric of just 3.08 (small sample size alert, but shocking nonetheless!). Yes, rookie running back Najee Harris played on every single offensive snap for the Steelers in their Week 1 game, but I was left wanting more after he saw only three targets on the day. Furthermore, a massive 56% of Harris’ 45 rush yards came after contact. We saw the jet sweeps, pre-snap motions, and shifts that we alluded to in the preseason primer, which are all designed to be utilized from the pistol formation to open up an opposing defense.

Over 33% of the Steelers’ pass plays in Week 1 came through play-action, a method designed to open up the lanes in the second level. Offensive coordinator Matt Canada is clearly trying to do what he can with this offense to manufacture success, but the matchup in Week 1 was a difficult one. Big Ben’s 6.2 average intended air yards were right in line with his value from last year so this offense will continue to rely on yards after the catch and high completion rates for success. Opposing defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s bump and run press Cover-3 defensive scheme is one that limits downfield passing, a logical hire after the team allowed a massive 11.4 yards per completion last season. Bradley’s system blitzed at the lowest rate in the NFL during his four years in Los Angeles, so we should expect more of the same here. In all, this defensive scheme should do well in limiting yards after the catch potential but should cede high completion rates over the short and intermediate areas of the field. Expect the Steelers to have to methodically march the field here, using the short passing game as an extension of the run game.

Likeliest Game Flow :: 

The primary game flow from this one will be dictated by the Steelers since they hold the clear edge on both sides of the ball. We are likely to see an increase in the standard number of plays run from scrimmage as the Steelers tilt pass-heavy organically and the Raiders are forced to tilt more pass-heavy as well, considering the injuries at running back, their weak offensive line, and a likely neutral to negative game script. This should serve as a bump to the primary volume pieces from both offenses, primarily Darren Waller, Diontae Johnson, and JuJu Smith-Schuster. In a setup like this, we can be fairly certain about the floor from these three.

DFS+ Interpretation ::

By Alex88 >>

OVERVIEW

  • LV defense ranked 12th in pressure rate, per SIS, and 16th in ESPN’s Pass Rush Win Rate, in 2020
  • PFF gave LV a 91.2 grade for Pass Rush in Week 1, tops in the league
  • PIT graded out at 93.7, second in the NFL
  • On the road, they held the Buffalo Bills to only 16 points

Derek Carr

  • Carr’s 2020 yards per pass attempt, 7.94, were a career high
  • 5.2% TD rate in 2020 was the highest it’s been since 2015
  • ADoT from 2018-2020: 7.1 // 6.9 // 8.5
  • The offensive line ranked in the top 10 in lowest adjusted sack rate the past two seasons
  • OL has lost 3 starters from ‘20
  • Against Baltimore in Week 1, the OL received a 57.1 pass blocking grade from PFF, and a 44.6 run blocking grade
  • Carr is a Top 10 QB in accuracy and rating when kept clean
  • He’s just average when facing pressure
  • The Steelers defense led the league in pressure rate in 2020
  • In Week 1 of ‘21, on the road, they held Josh Allen to just 18.2 DK points, over 9 points less than his ‘20 average
  • Carr’s DK totals in ‘20, in games that finished with 49+ points: 13.56 // 22.66 // 17.44 // 24.44 // 27.98 // 20.26 // 15 // 7.16 // 22.6 // 4.6 // 35.74 // 28.84 // 2.12 // 26.24 // 25.94
  • Among that set, here are the DK totals on the road: 13.56 // 17.44 // 27.98 // 15 // 4.6 // 35.74 // 25.94
  • In an overtime win at home vs. Baltimore in Week 1, Carr posted the following stat line: 34 completions on 56 attempts (60.7%), 435 yards with 7.8 yards per attempt, 10.1 average depth of target, 2 TDs & 1 INT, with a 76.9 PFF passing grade
  • 15.8% of his pressures turned into sacks, nearly identical to the 15.3% last season
  • Week 1 DK score: 28

LV Pass Catchers

  • Raiders WRs averaged 14.9 targets per game, 31st in the league
  • They combined for 9.7 receptions (31st), 146.9 yards per game (23rd), 9.9 yards per target (2nd)
  • In Week 1, the WR room totaled 22 targets in an overtime victory over Baltimore
  • Departed WR Nelson Agholor led last year’s WRs with 82 targets, 896 yards, and eight TDs
  • Henry Ruggs totaled 43 targets in 13 games, good for only 3.3 per game
  • His average depth of target was 17.4 yards. Among WRs that played 50% of their team’s offensive snaps, that mark was second in the league
  • Ruggs DK totals: 9.6 // 1.4 // 22.8 // 6.5 // 2.9 // 1 // 6.1 // 2.7 // 8.4 // 16.4 // 4.8 // 0.7 // 5.8
  • In Week 1, Ruggs played 44.7% of his snaps in the slot, 55.3% out wide
  • He finished with 2 receptions on 5 targets, for 46 yards and 6.6 DK points
  • Bryan Edwards played on only 24% of the offensive snaps in 2020. PFF gives him a 69.5 grade
  • In Week 1 vs. Baltimore, Edwards played on 90.7% of snaps
  • He had zero targets until late in the game
  • Edwards finished with 4 receptions on 5 targets, 81 yards, and 12.1 DK points
  • Hunter Renfrow averaged 8.5 yards per target in ‘19 & ‘20, for 46.5 & 41 yards per game, respectively
  • Renfrow’s DK totals in outdoor games last year: 4.1 // 20.4 // 5.2 // 12.6 // 8 // 8.7 // 5.4
  • Against the Ravens, Renfrow led the team in slot percentage at 67.5. He caught 6 balls on 9 targets, for 70 yards and 13 DK points
  • Zay Jones caught 2 targets against the Ravens, including the game winning TD in overtime, but he only ran a route on 17 plays
  • Darren Waller finished third (22.4%) and first (26.4%) in team target share the past two seasons
  • In 2020, Waller caught 107 of 145 targets, for 1,196 yards, and nine TDs
  • Waller finished 2nd among all TEs in receiving yards per pass attempt
  • Waller finished 2nd to Kelce among all TEs in DK points per game
  • Waller’s DK log in outdoor games last year: 10.5 // 2.9 // 15.8 // 7.7 // 13.2 // 48 // 30.7
  • In all games with final totals of 49+: 10.5 // 31.5 // 2.9 // 16.8 // 15.8 // 17 // 13.2 // 6.7 // 21.8 // 6.3 // 48 // 14.5 // 33 // 19.2 // 30.7
  • Against the Ravens, Waller had 10 receptions on 18 targets, for 105 yards and 1 TD. That was good for 29.5 DK points. His 35.2% target share led all TEs in Week 1

LV RBs

  • LV finished 15th in rushing expected points added and 13th in success rate in 2020
  • Josh Jacobs averaged 3.9 yards per carry
  • His 51% success rate ranked 13th among all RBs with 150+ carries
  • Jacobs’s average DK points last season, in games where he scored a TD: 22.79
  • Those individual scores: 35.9 // 22.5 // 13.8 // 32.6 // 13.4 // 20.4 // 20.9
  • His 12 rushing TDs came in just seven games
  • Jacobs’s average DK points in games without a TD: 9.98
  • Those individual scores: 13.5 // 10.3 // 10.3 // 6.1 // 15.9 // 6.4 // 10.4 // 6.9
  • Against the Ravens last week, Jacobs had 11 touches (42.3% of the team total for RBs, 20% of all team touches) on 52% of the snaps with 2 targets
  • His overall stat line: 10 rushing attempts for 34 yards and 2 TDs, 1 reception on 2 targets for 6 yards
  • Jacobs scored 17 DK points in the 33-27 OT victory at home
  • Kenyan Drake matched Jacobs for touches in Week 1, on less snaps (48%)
  • Drake scored 12 DK points with statlines of 6-11-0 rushing and 5-59-0 receiving on 5 targets
  • The Raiders acquired Kenyan Drake in the off season
  • Drake set career-highs for the Arizona Cardinals last season, with 955 rushing yards and 10 TDs
  • His 4.1 yards per touch was a career low, and he only averaged 1.7 receptions per game
  • Prior to losing three starters in the offseason, last year’s offensive line ranked 27th in ESPN’s Run Block Win Rate, at 69%
  • In 15 games with Jacobs last year, other RBs averaged 9.1 touches per game (6.6 rushes and 2.5 receptions)
  • In 2019, for Arizona, Drake averaged 0.89 yards per route run, which was 35th among RBs per PFF. In 2020, his 0.55 YPRR ranked 54th out of 58 qualifying RBs, below former Jacobs and backups Devontae Booker & Jalen Richard
  • 77.2% of Drake’s fantasy points came from the ground game in 2020
  • Drake’s DK point totals in outdoor games last season: 14.5 // 3.5 // 13.2 // 16 // 24.3 // 16

Ben Roethlisberger

  • Ben set career lows in average yards per attempt (6.3, 38th in the league) & depth of target (7.4 yards, 32nd in the league), in 2020
  • In Week 1, Ben’s yards per attempt was 5.9
  • Ben had 40.5 passes per game in 2020, second most in the league
  • 16.3% of Ben’s throws went over 15 yards downfield, 30th in the NFL
  • Ben connected on only 35.4% of those passes, 33rd in the NFL
  • DK points in road games last regular season: 22.1 // 15.6 // 15.3 // 28 // 17.7 // 15.5 (@ BUF) // 8.7
  • In all games with 48+ point totals: 19.2 // 21.4 // 15.6 // 15.3 // 28.5
  • On the road in Buffalo last week, Ben managed 12 DK points on 32 attempts
  • He completed 56.3% of his passes, with 5.9 YPA & 6.2 ADoT
  • 2 pass rushers for Las Vegas received grades above 90 from PFF in Week 1 versus Lamar Jackson
  • The Raiders secondary was led by Casey Hayward in Week 1, who received an 82.8 pass-coverage grade without allowing a reception on two targets in his direction while playing coverage on 39 snaps

PIT Pass Catchers

  • Week 1 PFF grades for Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, & JuJu Smith-Schuster vs. Buffalo: 66.1 // 72.8 // 69.9
  • Diontae led the team in targets with 10. He finished with five receptions, 36 yards, and one TD (the lone offensive score), good for 14.6 DK points
  • His 31.3% team target share finished 4th among all WRs in Week 1
  • Chase Claypool had five targets on the road in Buffalo (15.6% of the team total), with three catches for 45 yards & one rush for 25 yards, good for 10 DK points
  • Claypool’s 10.6 ADoT led all WRs for Pittsburgh
  • JuJu led the team in slot snap % with 76.3%, the next closest was James Washington (33.3%) who only had 9 total snaps
  • JuJu secured four catches on eight targets for 52 yards, a total of 9.2 DK points
  • JuJu had a 25% team target share in Week 1
  • Tight end Eric Ebron was on the field for 19 passing plays, receiving just 2 targets and producing 1 catch for 19 yards with it. PFF graded Ebron at 62.1
  • Ebron had an 11.5 ADoT
  • Fellow tight end Pat Freiermuth was on the field for 13 passing plays, with 1 target that he secured for 24 yards. PFF grade: 72.8
  • Freiermuth had a 15.0 ADoT

Najee Harris

  • In his first regular season game, Najee played on 100% of the Pittsburgh offensive snaps, with 80% of the rushing attempts
  • He was targeted on 10% of his routes run
  • He had 16 rushing attempts for 45 yards, only 2.81 yards per attempt
  • Najee had 3 targets, good for 1 reception for four yards
  • Najee scored only 5.9 DK points in Week 1
  • The Raiders defense allowed fellow rookie Ty’Son Williams to rush for 65 yards and a TD on only nine attempts in Week 1, good for 7.2 yards per attempt & three receptions on four targets for 29 yards and a TD
  • Ty’Son played on only 51% of the offensive snaps for the Ravens


Kickoff Sunday, Sep 19th 1:00pm Eastern

Bengals (
21.25) at

Bears (
23.25)

Over/Under 44.5

Tweet
Notes

Key Matchups
Bengals Run D
2nd DVOA/11th Yards allowed per carry
Bears Run O
21st DVOA/8th Yards per carry
Bengals Pass D
15th DVOA/9th Yards allowed per pass
Bears Pass O
26th DVOA/31st Yards per pass
Bears Run D
11th DVOA/5th Yards allowed per carry
Bengals Run O
21st DVOA/18th Yards per carry
Bears Pass D
9th DVOA/14th Yards allowed per pass
Bengals Pass O
26th DVOA/28th Yards per pass

Game Overview 

By Papy324>>>
  • This is likely to be a run-oriented affair between two teams that want to grind out wins
  • Montgomery and Mixon both have game scripts that lead to 30 touch games 
  • The Bengals could choose to attack the Bears weak secondary 
  • All the key players in this game are affordable and likely to be low owned 

How Cincinnati Will Try to Win ::

The Bengals are coming off a dramatic win in which they barely held off a surging Vikings team to escape with a three-point overtime victory. Surprisingly, Joe Burrow attempted only 27 passes, compared to 36 team carries. Part of that was due to game flow, but the game was never out of hand, and this type of approach might just be the way the Bengals want to attack this season.  

The relative weakness of the Bears defense is their secondary. They boast a strong front seven, with one of the best pass rushers in the game in Kahlil Mack. Did the Bengals pound the ball against the Vikings to expose the relative weakness of the Vikings run defense? Or did they pound the ball against the Vikings because that’s the way the Bengals want to play this year? Week 2 should give us a lot of insight into this question, but given Joe Burrow’s injury last year, I suspect the Bengals want to ride their ground game until forced to give it up. 

Through the air, Burrow will have the best matchup against Chicago’s suspect CBs that Stafford just lit up for 321 yards and three TDs. If the Bengals attack through the air, Burrow is set up for success in a game where the Bears’ secondary will be overmatched against the Bengals’ weapons. The Bears simply don’t have the personnel to cover Tee Higgins, Ja’Marr Chase, and Tyler Boyd. 

How Chicago Will Try to Win :: 

The Bears threw the ball 40 times in Week 1 against 26 team carries. This should be taken with a grain of salt, however, because the game flow forced the Bears to turn much pass heavier than they would ideally like to play. Matt Nagy hasn’t always been the best coach, but he’s not foolish enough to think the way to win games is through Andy Dalton. When will we see Justin Fields? No one really knows, but it could happen any play. 

The Bears preferred method of attack is on the ground, where they’ll look to feed David Montgomery for as long as the game is competitive. The Bears are sitting as three-point home favorites, so there is a much better chance this game stays competitive than their Week 1 contest. Montgomery was featured in Week 1 (16 carries), but Damien Williams also received a notable six carries. That split might have been due to game flow, but it’s something to keep an eye on and shows that in negative game scripts, Montgomery might lose work. Expect the Bears to give Montgomery every opportunity to exploit the soft underbelly of the Bengals’ defense. 

When the Bears take to the air, they’ll be attacking the relative “strength” of the Bengals’ defense. The Bengals’ secondary is only a “strength” compared to how bad they are against the run. Admittedly, the Bengals’ run defense surprised in Week 1, holding Dalvin Cook to a meager 3.1 YPC. Maybe the Bengals’ front seven will be better than expected. A one-game sample is too small to change their season outlook, so as of now, continue to consider them a weak unit. None of the Bears pass catchers have a difficult matchup. The biggest obstacle to their success is the Bears preferred method of attack and volume concerns for everyone other than Allen Robinson. 

Most Likely Game Flow ::

This game has one of the lower totals on the slate at only 45 points. However, it’s expected to be a competitive contest with the Bears as three-point home favorites. The most likely game flow is a grind-it-out affair, with both teams preferring to lean on their running games for as long as possible. There is very little chance the Bears stray from a run-oriented, hide Andy Dalton approach. If this game stays close, the Bears will keep trying to run their way to a victory. 

Tributaries ::

DFS+ Interpretation ::

By Alex88 >>

OVERVIEW

  • As Offensive Coordinator of the 2015 Miami Dolphins, or 2 full seasons as the Bengals Head Coach, Zac Taylor’s offense has never finished a season ranked higher than 27th in points scored or 26th in yardage. 
  • Including Week 1, Taylor’s HC record is 7-25-1
  • As Offensive Coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs (under Andy Reid’s tutelage), Matt Nagy’s offense ranked sixth in points and fifth in yardage. As Head Coach for the Chicago Bears, Nagy’s offense finished ninth in points his first season, and then no higher than 22nd & never once cracked the Top 20 in yardage
  • Including Week 1, Nagy’s HC record is 28-21
  • After Week 1, the Bears defense is ranked 32nd by PFF

Joe Burrow

  • The Bears just allowed Matthew Stafford to set the all time record for QB Rating in a debut performance
  • In Joe Burrow’s starts last season, the Bengals were the NFL’s worst first down passing offense, averaging 5.9 yards per attempt and a 48% success rate
  • In Week 1 against Minnesota, they were first in success rate at 89%, averaging 15.6 yards per attempt
  • Week 1’s Matchups showed that the Bengals last season used 11 personnel on 79% of Burrow’s first down plays but achieved better metrics out of 12 personnel. Their Week 1 opponent, the Vikings, faced 12 personnel on only 15.6% of snaps, but allowed a high success rate last year
  • In Week 1 against Minnesota, Cincinnati used 12 personnel at a 41% rate on first down
  • Burrow’s stat line for Week 1: 20/27-261-2, good for 18.6 DK points
  • Burrow’s DK points in games with less than 48 points scored: 17.3 // 23.4 // 6.3 // 12.5 // 12.3

CIN Pass Catchers

  • The Bengals used 3 WRs on 82% of their snaps, second highest in the league last season
  • In Week 1, with a healthy Joe Mixon, that dropped to 65%
  • The Bengals targeted WRs 69% of the time last year, fifth highest rate in the league
  • In Week 1, that rate was at 73.1%, tied for fifth
  • In an overtime victory, rookie Ja’Marr Chase paced the team in targets with seven and a team target share of 25.9%
  • Ja’Marr caught five receptions for 101 yards and 1 TD, good for 23.9 DK points
  • His 16.3 ADoT & 7.4 YAC/rec led the WRs
  • Tyler Boyd averaged 7.3 targets, 5.3 receptions, and 56.1 yards per game last season
  • Boyd ran 84.2% of his routes from the slot
  • In Week 1, Boyd caught three passes on four targets for 32 yards. He ran 82.1% of his routes from the slot
  • Boyd’s DK totals last year, in games with less than 48 points scored: 7.3 // 25.5 // 8.2 // 10.1 // 17.5 // 4.5 // 14.2 // 9.3 // 2.2
  • As a rookie, Tee Higgins averaged 6.75 targets, 4.2 receptions, and 56.8 yards per game in 2020
  • In Week 1, Higgins caught four receptions on five targets for 58 yards and a TD
  • Higgins DK points in games with less than 48 points: 21 // 10.2 // 26.5 // 5.6 // 15.4 // 10.6 // 9.9 // 6.1 // 21.9
  • Bengals were 28th in the NFL in TE targets last season
  • In Week 1, CJ Uzomah had 2 targets. He caught both for 35 total yards

Joe Mixon

  • Mixon missed the last 10 games of the 2020 season due to a foot injury, but prior to that he led the NFL in most touches for RBs, and was second in touches per game at 23.2
  • In Week 1, he led the NFL in touches at the position with 33
  • That led to 29 rushing attempts for 127 yards and 1 TD & four receptions on four targets for 23 yards, for a total of 28 
  • His DK point totals in road losses under the current coaching regime, with at least 50% snaps: 17.4 // 10.3 // 17.7 // 17.3 // 30.6 // 12.6 // 8.5 (tie) // 15.4 // 14.9
  • Taylor’s Bengals have zero road wins in which Mixon played over 50% of the snaps
  • The Bears received a 57.2 run defense grade from PFF for Week 1

CHI Passing Attack

  • The Bears let rookie first round draft pick, Justin Fields, on the field for 5 total snaps
  • He went 2 for 2 in passing for 10 yards & rushed in a score, good for 6.7 DK points
  • His passer rating was 87.5, time to throw just 1.75 seconds
  • Andy Dalton played on 64 snaps
  • He had 27 completions on 38 attempts for 206 yards and an INT & two rushes for 13 yards, totaling 7.5 DK points
  • In Week 1, Kirk Cousins produced 25 DK points in an overtime loss against the Bengals
  • He had Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson, & Adam Thielen as primary weapons
  • Dalton/Fields have David Montgomery, Allen Robinson, & Darnell Mooney
  • Robinson led Chicago in targets in Week 1, with 10
  • He caught six balls for 35 yards, only 9.5 points
  • Justin Jefferson managed 12.5 points as a road favorite
  • Darnell Mooney had five receptions on 7 targets for 26 yards, just 7.6 DK points
  • Mooney played on 100% of offensive snaps
  • Marquise Goodwin led the team in yards per target in Week 1. He finished with four catches on four targets for 45 yards, and lost yardage on a run to end with 8.3 DK points
  • Damiere Byrd had the lowest ADoT among WRs/TEs with 3.67. He finished with three catches on three targets for 19 yards, 4.9 points
  • Cole Kmet was the only TE to play on 25%+ of snaps. He caught 5 of 6 targets for 42 yards, 9.2 points

CHI RBs

  • David Montgomery played on 59.4% of snaps, which led to 17 touches
  • His 16 attempts went for 108 yards and a score, plus he caught his lone target for 10 yards
  • Montgomery’s 21.8 DK points finished 8th among the position
  • In this same matchup, Dalvin Cook scored 22.4 points in an overtime, road loss
  • Newcomer Damien Williams played on 43.5% of snaps, totaling 10 touches
  • He had 6 attempts for only 12 yards but added 4 receptions on 5 targets for 28 yards
  • Damien finished with 8 DK points

Kickoff Sunday, Sep 19th 1:00pm Eastern

Texans (
17.5) at

Browns (
31)

Over/Under 48.5

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Notes

Key Matchups
Texans Run D
31st DVOA/17th Yards allowed per carry
Browns Run O
1st DVOA/3rd Yards per carry
Texans Pass D
5th DVOA/18th Yards allowed per pass
Browns Pass O
11th DVOA/14th Yards per pass
Browns Run D
6th DVOA/9th Yards allowed per carry
Texans Run O
26th DVOA/11th Yards per carry
Browns Pass D
31st DVOA/23rd Yards allowed per pass
Texans Pass O
9th DVOA/13th Yards per pass

GAME OVERVIEW ::

By Hilow>>>
  • Interesting case where the likeliest scenario leads to a maddening spread of touches for the Browns; we expect the Browns to find success but their spread-it-out offense means the floors of all skill position players are lower than we’d otherwise like here
  • The field might be looking to the Texans for cheap upside, but that upside is basically a fallacy
  • Interesting tributary scenario, not in the sense that an alternate game flow is likely, but from a sense of how the Browns score

HOW HOUSTON WILL TRY TO WIN ::

The Texans are fresh off an opening week win over the hapless Jaguars. That game saw the Texans control the tempo throughout, which led to a ridiculously low 45% situation-neutral pass rate. Expect this team to start the game attempting to win in the same fashion but to not enjoy the same level of success in the likeliest scenario. That should lead to a substantial increase to the 33 total pass attempts from a week ago.  

The running back situation for the Texans is about as ridiculous as you would have thought heading into the season. Mark Ingram II paced the team in snap rate in Week 1, parlaying 46% of the offensive plays run from scrimmage into 27 total running back opportunities (26 rush attempts and one target). In a game where we can’t confidently project the Texans to run the football 41 times, expect his likeliest scenario to regress to 12-14 running back opportunities. David Johnson, Phillip Lindsay, and Rex Burkhead rounded out this four-headed running back nightmare, playing 28%, 26%, and 13% of the offensive snaps, respectively. Expect David Johnson and Rex Burkhead to be more involved this week as the team likely plays from behind, with the likeliest scenario leading to 8-12 running back opportunities for Johnson and 5-7 for Burkhead in the likeliest scenario. Lindsay should round out this backfield with 5-7 opportunities of his own. Big picture: not a ton to love here in a difficult matchup in the trenches.

Brandin Cooks led the team in snap rate amongst pass-catchers at 78% in Week 1, followed by the primary blocking tight end Pharoah Brown, pass-catching tight end Jordan Akins, rookie slot wide receiver Nico Collins, perimeter wide receiver Chris Conley, blocking tight end Antony Auclair, and Swiss army knife wide receiver Danny Amendola. I’d expect the snap rates for Cooks, Akins, Collins, and Conley to increase this week as the team is likely forced to the air with greater frequency. Expect the likeliest scenario for Tyrod Taylor pass attempts to land in the 35-37 attempt range, with 8-12 targets for Cooks, 5-7 for Akins, Conley, and Collins, and 3-5 for Brown. We saw how communication miscues from a zone-heavy defense are likely to happen early in the season in Week 1 after the Browns struggled to contain the speed of Tyreek Hill and underneath skill of Travis Kelce, but consider the upside capped for all players not named Brandin Cooks.

HOW CLEVELAND WILL TRY TO WIN ::

Cleveland’s likeliest plan of attack for this game should be fairly evident to even the most casual of football observers. The team will be without Odell Beckham, Jr. for the second game in a row, carries the highest net-adjusted line yards mismatch we are likely to see all season (5.52), are playing in a game where they are favored by almost two touchdowns, and carry the second-highest Vegas implied team total on the slate. The problem (or good part, depending on who you ask) is that the Texans simply don’t have the personnel to slow down the Browns’ rushing attack.

The Browns finished Week 1 with a situation-neutral pass rate of just 55% in a game against the top football team in the league, which closely mirrors their 2020 value of 52%. This team likes to run the ball and they do it damn well. Running back Nick Chubb is quite possibly the best pure runner of the football in the league and he runs behind the top offensive line in the league. Change of pace specialist Kareem Hunt is quite possibly the most talented “backup” running back in the league. The Browns ran 59 total offensive plays in Week 1 against the best team in the league (who were much more likely to sustain drives than the Texans here – the Browns finished Week 1 ranked third in the NFL in drive success rate while the Chiefs finished second; the Texans finished 19th). This means that we’re likely to see a slight uptick in total offensive plays run from scrimmage. The likeliest scenario leads to 27-31 total rushes from the Browns here with upside for more, which should lead to a tight 18-22 running back opportunities for Nick Chubb and 12-16 for Kareem Hunt.

Wide receiver Jarvis Landry predictably ran low upside routes in Week 1, finishing with an average depth of target of just 3.4 yards and an average air yards per route of 0.33. Expect him to once again lead the team in snap rate and route rate, but the upside is capped until he is deployed in a higher upside role. Donovan Peoples-Jones ranked second on the team in snaps and routes run, followed by Austin Hooper, David Njoku, Anthony Schwartz, and Harrison Bryant. Expect the elevated 12-personnel (and even some 13-personnel) rates to continue for as long as Odell Beckham, Jr. remains out after the team ran 11-personnel only 44% of their Week 1 snaps. The matchup is a good one, but we can’t confidently project the Browns to attack heavily through the air in the likeliest scenario here.

LIKELIEST GAME FLOW ::

When we consider all the angles (as we should for each and every game on a slate), this game falls towards the bottom of the list when it comes to potential tributary game scenarios. The likeliest game flow is the Browns are able to sustain drives primarily on the ground and grind out an easy win on the backs of their running back duo and offensive line. Along that same line of thinking, the tributary scenario doesn’t necessarily involve the Browns failing as much as it involves them scoring all their touchdowns through the air (see: Week 7 2020, where Baker Mayfield threw only 28 passes but passed for 297 yards and five touchdowns against the Bengals). However unlikely, it is still within the realm of possibility and something to consider for my MME cadre.

DFS+ Interpretation ::

By LexMiraglia10 >>

Overview:

  • This game finished 10-7 in 2020 in large part due to crazy levels of wind interference
  • Despite their big Week 1 win over JAC, Vegas has HOU with the lowest implied team total on the slate
  • Even in loss, CLE averaged 8.2 yds/play vs KC while holding them to 6.5 yds/play

Tyrod Taylor:

  • CLE’s defensive roster is arguably an upgrade at almost every position compared to the JAC roster Tyrod just faced
  • 204 QBs since 2014 have averaged just over 12 DK pts/g as 10+ pt underdogs on teams implied for 20 pts or less
  • In his career, Tyrod Taylor averages 15.4 DK pts as a Dog & 18.9 DK pts as a Favorite
  • Tyrod has scored 25+ DK pts eight times in 47 full games

Brandin Cooks:

  • CLE allowed the 8th most yds & DK pts/g on the 3rd most WR targets faced in 2020
  • CLE got wrecked by Tyreek Hill for 197 yds, TD on his 15 targets while holding every other WR below 20 yds
  • Cooks racked up 132 yds on 7 targets in a game HOU led 34-7 at one point; Amendola/Conley/Collins combined for just 10 targets
  • Cooks w/o Fuller in 2020 (albeit w/ Watson): 5:95 (8) // 5:65 (8) // 6:59 (7) // 7:141:1 (10) // 11:166:2 (16)
  • Cooks yds/g by season: 55 // 71 // 73 // 68 // 75 // 42 // 77
  • Leading pass-catcher in most recent Tyrod starts (HOU, LAC, CLE): Cooks (5:132) // Henry (5:73) // Landry (5:69) // Landry (7:106)

Pharaoh Brown:

  • Brown trailed only Cooks in targets in W1 with 6, turning them into 67 yds
  • In Tyrod’s 3 seasons in BUF, Charles Clay averaged 40.6, 36.8, & 42.9 yds/g
  • Clay averaged 5.9, 5.8, 5.7 tg/g while ranking 3rd, 1st, 2nd in total team targets
  • CLE allowed 11 TE rec TDs in 2020 and began 2021 with another to Kelce
  • Akins got two RZ targets to Brown’s zero in W1

Mark Ingram:

  • HOU RBs rushed 37 times for 120 yds, 2 TD in their blowout of JAC
  • Ingram’s 26 rush att were the third most of his career, and first of 20 att since 2017
  • CLE held CEH to 43 yds on 14 rush att in W1
  • 321 RBs since 2014, averaging less than 2 targets per game as 10+ pt underdogs, are averaging just 7.21 DK pts and failing to hit expected pts (determined by salary) 64.2% of the time

Baker Mayfield:

  • Final game scores of Mayfield’s only scores of 20+ DK pts in 2020: (37-34), (41-35), (42-47), (20-6), (48-37)
  • After 9 games of under 30 pass at in 2020, Baker started 2021 throwing just 28 times (and that was against Mahomes!)
  • HOU’s defense performed above expectation vs Lawrence & JAC, but still allowed well over 300 pass yds & 3 TDs in their big win

Jarvis Landry:

  • No Odell for another week
  • Jarvis Landry targets/g with & without Odell: 5.5 vs 6.8
  • Landry had one game over 6 targets in Odell’s six full games, and seven in the other 11
  • Landry had just 5 targets in a tough matchup vs KC, but scored on a rush TD
  • HOU allowed the highest success rate to WRs in 2020
  • Only DAL & MIN allowed more WR TDs than HOU in 2020
  • JAC WRs vs HOU W1: Chark: 3:86:1 (12) // Jones: 5:77:1 (9) // Viska: 7:50 (10)
  • Routes on 30 Baker dropbacks: Peoples-Jones (26) // Schwartz (17) // Higgins (2)

CLE TEs:

  • Routes on 30 Baker dropbacks: Hooper (14) // Njoku (15) // Bryant (9)
  • CLE TE targets in W1: Hooper (3) // Njoku (5) // Bryant (2)
  • O’Shag went for 6 rec 48 yds vs HOU in W1

CLE RBs:

  • HOU allowed 300 more RB rush yds than the next closest team in 2020 (145.8/g)
  • HOU allowed over 3000 total RB yds in 2020 (190.9/g)
  • Robinson & Hyde only got 14 att, but did average 5 yds/att in W1 vs HOU
  • CLE RBs rushing W1: Chubb (15:83:2) // Hunt (6:33:1)
  • CLE RBs vs HOU 2020: Chubb (19:126:1) // Hunt (19:104) /// Chubb laid down at 1
  • 83 RBs since 2014 averaging 15+ rush att/g have averaged 17.23 DK pts/g as 10+ pt favorites

Kickoff Sunday, Sep 19th 1:00pm Eastern

Saints (
24) at

Panthers (
21)

Over/Under 45.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Saints Run D
3rd DVOA/3rd Yards allowed per carry
Panthers Run O
25th DVOA/21st Yards per carry
Saints Pass D
12th DVOA/13th Yards allowed per pass
Panthers Pass O
13th DVOA/9th Yards per pass
Panthers Run D
1st DVOA/1st Yards allowed per carry
Saints Run O
29th DVOA/17th Yards per carry
Panthers Pass D
1st DVOA/1st Yards allowed per pass
Saints Pass O
18th DVOA/32nd Yards per pass

GAME OVERVIEW ::

BY Mjohnson86 >>
  • The offensive matchup for both teams will likely be much more difficult in Week 2 than it was in Week 1
  • Both QBs had very good openers as the new starter for their respective teams, but coaches will have reason to “hide” them this week as long as it is close
  • This game projects for a slower pace with neither team likely to open up a big lead early on

HOW New Orleans WILL TRY TO WIN ::

The game plan for the Saints this year is pretty clearly going to be less aggressive than they have been in past years, at least until Jameis Winston fully gains Sean Payton’s trust. While Winston had a very good Week 1, his fantasy points are misleading as he was averaging under 5 yards per attempt on 19 passes before a 55 yard TD against Packers backups in the 4th quarter. I would expect more of the same approach here with a heavy dose of rushes and short passes for the Saints. Their defense has a significant advantage at the line of scrimmage and the Saints will likely feel no reason to be overly aggressive and let Winston make mistakes early — instead relying on their defense to force mistakes from the Panthers and create short fields for Winston and the offense. The Panthers defense plays a very high rate of Cover-3 defense which limits big plays and forces things underneath. Payton will be aware of that and will likely be hesitant to let Jameis try to push the ball down the field without any big time downfield threats. This plays right into what the Saints would like to do, however, and they should be able to move the ball well — even if it is at a methodical pace.

HOW Carolina WILL TRY TO WIN ::

Carolina faces a big challenge in the Saints’ defensive front and will need to be ready for a big jump in competition after handling the lowly Jets in Week 1. Sam Darnold had a respectable opener, but the name of the game here will be protecting him against a defense that just made the reigning MVP, Aaron Rodgers, and last year’s highest scoring offense look horrible. Expect a lot of pressure and exotic blitzes from the Saints as they attempt to make Darnold “see ghosts” as he did in his infamous Monday Night meltdown against the Patriots two years ago. A heavy dose of runs, screens, and short passes will be in order for the Panthers with their primary playmakers being given the ball in space. The Panthers should also look to use some creative concepts and play-action to try to keep the Saints somewhat on their heels and reduce the pressure they can bring. The Panthers will have limited opportunities due to the pace that the game is likely to play out with. If they are unable to run the ball effectively and have short possessions ending in punts early in the game, then they will likely turn more to short passing and try to find isolated matchups where they can move the ball through the air in a quick manner that doesn’t put Darnold under heavy pressure

LIKELIEST GAME FLOW :: 

Due to the nature of conservative attacks both teams are likely to employ, the game clock should move right along and limit possessions for both sides — making efficiency in the red zone and the turnover battle paramount in determining if this game is able to exceed expectations. If leaning one way, the Saints are more likely to get a multiple score lead and force the hand of the Panthers than the other way around. This is simply because the Saints have a better, more aggressive defense and also have one of the best offensive lines in football — so they should be able to run the ball more efficiently from the outset and not need to get more aggressive. 

All that being said, this game projects to play with a slower pace but that is a very fragile projection due to the history of mistakes that both QBs have had throughout their careers — which could quickly flip the game on its head — and the playmakers that each side has and the volume of touches those stars should see, giving them more opportunities to turn in a big play that can flip the switch on a game

DFS+ Interpretation ::

By LexMiraglia10 >>

Overview:

  • After getting blasted nearly every game during the first 3 weeks of each of five Dennis Allen seasons, NOR had one of its best performances of the Dennis Allen era vs GB
  • NOR mostly shut down TB’s offense in W1 last season before getting creamed in the weeks following by Carr & Rodgers
  • Along with several coaching staff members on the COVID list, NOR will be without impact starters Lattimore, Davenport, Onyemata on defense and Thomas, Tre’Quan, McCoy on offense
  • NOR won both of these matchups in 2020 vs Bridgewater (27-24 // 33-7)

Sam Darnold:

  • Teddy’s two games vs NOR in 2020: 254:2 // 176:0:2
  • Darnold scored 20+ DK pts in just 8/38 games with NYJ (just one of 30+)
  • Darnold scored 20.1 DK pts in his first game for CAR
  • NOR allowed the 5th fewest QB DK pts in 2020, including zero 300yd passers, however each QB in the first five weeks scored 20+ DK pts
  • NOR CBs are a rookie (who played well in first game), a street free agent pickup from barely over a week ago, and a solid CB they traded for last week
  • NOR faced the 8th highest pass rate in 2020

CAR WRs:

  • CAR WR targets in W1: Moore (8) // Robby (3) // Marshall (6)
  • Every WR was out-targeted by CMC (9)
  • Robby got the deep TD, but Moore was the most consistently productive with 80 yds on his 6 rec
  • CAR WRs vs NOR in 2020: Moore (4:93:2 // 5:101) /// Robby (6:74 // 3:40) // Samuel (6:48 // 7:118)
  • CAR WRs only scored 20+ DK pts together twice in 2020 (RA & DJM vs TB // DJM & CS vs DET); none reached 20 in W1
  • NOR allowed the 7th most explosive pass plays to WRs in 2020
  • Top WRs in games Lattimore missed last 2 seasons: Ridley (5:90) // Golladay (4:62:1) // DJ Moore (6:126:2) // Evans (4:69)

Christian McCaffrey:

  • CMC’s DK scores as a Home Dog since 2018: 21.6 // 26 // 32.8 // 45.9 // 37.5 // 22.8 // 28.4
  • Since Week 9 of 2018, CMC has scored under 24 DK pts just five times in 29 games
  • Two of those five came in W17 blowouts vs NOR in which multiple starters either didn’t play or finish game
  • CMC has 30+ pts in 16 of those 29 games and 35+ in 8 of them
  • No team allowed fewer DK pts to RBs than NOR in 2020, with only DAL & PIT allowing fewer RB rec yds
  • Despite a dramatic change on the defensive line compared to 2020 (only changing further without Davenport now), NOR held the GB RBs to a combined 14 att 42 yds, 3 rec 20 yds
  • RBs to score 20+ DK pts vs NOR since 2018: Saquon (22) // Latavius (20.5) // Zeke (25.6) // CMC (34.3, 22.8, 26) // Mostert (24.9) // Dalvin (28.0) // Sanders (32.6) // Fournette (21.7)
  • That’s 10 RB scores of 20+ DK pts allowed in the last 54 games (18.5%)
  • 10/10 scored a TD /// 4/10 scored 2 TDs /// 7/10 had 5+ rec /// 10/10 had 6+ DK rec pts
  • Of the three without 5 rec, one had 82 yd TD, one caught a WR pass TD, one had 28 rush att, and all three scored 2 TDs
  • Mike Davis & Rodney Smith finished with 8.6 & 11.4 DK pts in 2020 starts vs NOR

Jameis Winston:

  • Winston’s 20 pass att in W1 were the fewest he’s thrown in all but one full game in his career, and it was the fewest passing yds of all of them
  • Brees only threw under 30 pass att in 7 of his 37 full games his last 3 seasons
  • Brees threw 36 & 32 passes vs CAR in 2020, and he didn’t finish the second one due to blowout
  • CAR faced the 7th highest pass rate in 2020, but just four QBs passed for 300+ yds (Herbert, Mahomes, Brady, Cousins); CAR has since added a 1st-RD CB in the draft
  • CAR held rookie Zach Wilson to a 28.7 QBR in W1, but created pressure all game against an offensive line on the opposite end of the spectrum from NOR
  • CAR sacked Brees just 3 times in 2020, with the one resulting in a fumble coming on a play Armstead was out of the game with injury and Burns blew by the backup
  • Losing C Erick McCoy, who started calling the offensive line protections this summer due to the departure of Brees, may be a hit to their overall handling of pressure

NOR WRs:

  • CAR allowed the 10th fewest WR yds in 2020
  • NYJ WRs vs CAR: Davis (5:97:2) // Berrios (5:51) // Mims (1:40) // Moore (1:-3)
  • NOR WRs vs CAR in 2020: Callaway (8:75 // 3:51) // Harris (4:46:1) // Tre’Quan (4:54) // Sanders (9:63:1)
  • NOR WR targets in W1: Callaway (2) // Harris (2) // Hogan (1) // TyMont (1)
  • Callaway dominated target share in preseason when the Saints passed more often
  • CAR allowed the 9th lowest yds/att to WRs in 2020
  • Just five WRs produced 100+ yds and all needed 7+ rec to get there (Evans, Keenan, Ridley, Julio, Tyreek)
  • NOR has only had one non-Thomas/Sanders WR catch 7+ passes in a game in each of the last 3 seasons: Tre’Quan (10) // Ginn (7) // Callaway (8)

NOR TEs:

  • Cook received 5+ targets in 6/15 games as NOR lead TE in 2020
  • Trautman had 6 targets on 20 Jameis passes, including a wide open drop in the RZ
  • Juwan Johnson caught his two EZ targets for TDs, showcasing his leaping ability
  • NOR schemed up screen plays for each guy in W1

Alvin Kamara:

  • AK converted 50% of his Green Zone rushes into TDs (14 of 28) in 2020, and continued his uber efficiency with another score on what was basically a handoff vs GB
  • Kamara’s four W1 targets only trailed Trautman, and he rushed 20 times (the second most att in his career behind only the 6 TD game in 2020)
  • CAR allowed the 4th most RB rec in 2020
  • 11 RBs in 16 games finished with 90+ yds vs CAR in 2020
  • Kamara has finished with 90+ total yds in every game with Brees/Winston & no Thomas since last year
  • AK’s DK pts without Thomas: 38.4 // 47.7 // 20.9 // 19.9 // 22.8 // 25.3 // 18.4 // 59.2 // 18.1
  • AK vs CAR in 2020: 14:83, 8:65 (22.8 DK pts) // NOR scored 3 TDs inside the 5 through Brees that game (2 pass, 1 rush)
  • TyMont produced 18 att 105 yds as the RB in second matchup in 2020

Tony Jones Jr:

  • Murray’s only games over 10 DK pts in 2020: (14:64:2, 1:19) // (12:49, 2:36) // (19:124:2, 1:2) // (4:3, 2:26:1) // (12:72, 3:24)
  • Scores of those games: 35-29 // 24-9 // 31-3 // 29-32 // 52-33
  • NOR was up 35-14 in first one, so 4/5 came in blowout wins
  • Jones Jr produced 50 yds on 11 att in his second game for the Saints (3:13 in CAR W17)

Kickoff Sunday, Sep 19th 4:05pm Eastern

Vikings (
23.5) at

Cards (
27)

Over/Under 50.5

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Notes

Key Matchups
Vikings Run D
17th DVOA/21st Yards allowed per carry
Cardinals Run O
15th DVOA/12th Yards per carry
Vikings Pass D
22nd DVOA/26th Yards allowed per pass
Cardinals Pass O
8th DVOA/3rd Yards per pass
Cardinals Run D
10th DVOA/26th Yards allowed per carry
Vikings Run O
23rd DVOA/10th Yards per carry
Cardinals Pass D
8th DVOA/8th Yards allowed per pass
Vikings Pass O
7th DVOA/8th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By hilow >>
  • Fairly wide range of potential outcomes with respect to game flow here
  • This means we need to be extremely careful how we deploy members from this game, ensuring players are entered into rosters with specific game flows in mind
  • Xandamere’s “always one Viking” suggestion continues to carry merit in an absurdly concentrated offense
  • Keep an eye on Minnesota’s personnel usage rates in this game, as they shifted to much heavier three and four wide receiver sets in Week 1, likely due to the lack of depth at the tight end position

How Minnesota Will Try To Win ::

We know by now that “how Minnesota will try to win a game,” and “how they might be forced to try and win a game” are very different ideas. The big picture is they are willing to open things up as required, dependent on game flow.

The new Kubiak-esque outside zone run scheme being built in Minnesota this season should enjoy further success as the season moves on. Transitioning an offense from a power-base run game to an outside zone scheme takes time and repetition, evidenced by the lack of success in their Week 1 game against the Bengals, a game in which running back Dalvin Cook averaged a measley 3.1 yards per carry. The weakness of this offensive line is on the inside, so until they are able to master the spread concepts of the outside zone run scheme, we are likely to see them struggle on the ground. Nothing has changed to start the year with respect to Dalvin Cook’s elite usage, who handled 29 of the 36 running back opportunities out of the backfield. The matchup is less than ideal, going against a formidable defensive line and running behind a weak offensive line; this matchup yields a net-adjusted line yards metric of just 3.2.

This game could take on an entirely different form in the case of Minnesota being forced to the air earlier than they would otherwise like. Over the previous three seasons, Kirk Cousins is the number one passer in the NFL against Cover-1 defensive formations, a formation the Cardinals used at the highest rate in the NFL in 2020. The success level through the air, or lack thereof, is likely to come down to protection up front against a strong Cardinals pass rush, but the lack of talent and primary coverage scheme from the Cardinals are liable to lead to explosive plays here. A week after relatively disappointing in the shadows of fellow wide receiver Adam Thielen, Justin Jefferson sets up extremely well to take advantage of these defensive shortcomings from the Cardinals. A year after playing with three wide receivers on the field at a 38% clip (11, 20, and 02-personnel), the Vikings came out and ran three wide receiver sets a massive-for-them 66% of the time in Week 1, with a further 12% of snaps played with four wide receivers on the field. This led to KJ Osborn handling an 81% snap rate and nine targets, the same target total as Justin Jefferson. This is most likely a case of injuries and personnel departures of the tight end room, but something to monitor moving forward nonetheless.

How arizona Will Try To Win ::

The Cardinals looked basically exactly the same on offense as they did in 2020 but now boast a formidable defensive line with the addition of JJ Watt to a line that already held All-Pro edge rusher Chandler Jones (five sacks in Week 1!!!). The team still holds a top ten run-blocking offensive line but a bottom ten offensive line when it comes to pass protection, which is somewhat mitigated by the rushing prowess of quarterback Kyler Murray. We should expect pace, a horizontally-spread offense, and a handful of downfield strikes per game through Christian Kirk and rookie wide receiver Rondale Moore. We broke down how the team is likely to enjoy improved downfield success rates in the offseason primer, which came to fruition in Week 1.

Week 1 showed us that not a whole lot has changed with respect to the run game for the Cardinals. Chase Edmonds and James Conner combined for 28 rush attempts and four targets with both backs seeing 16 running back opportunities, yet Kyler Murray scored the lone rushing touchdown. After finishing 2020 with a situation-neutral pass rate of 56%, the Cardinals went out and held a situation-neutral pass rate of 52% in their opener. The matchup yields a net-adjusted line yards metric of 4.7, a top five value on the week, but this remains a head-scratching backfield week-to-week. Expect more of the same here with “backup” James Conner charged with a straight-ahead power run role, and “starter” Chase Edmonds owning an outside-in zone read role with sparse pass game usage.

Lead wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins actually saw a slight uptick in average depth of target in Week 1 when compared to last season, ending the week with a value of 10.9 (a full two yards greater than 2020). Newcomer AJ Green took on more of a possession style, finishing with an average depth of target of 9.0. Christian Kirk maintained a downfield role (12.0), and rookie Rondale Moore was deployed to all depths of the field (his 4.4 aDOT doesn’t tell the whole story as far as his usage goes, and he even shook free on a broken play on third down in the second quarter for a long completion). The overall identity of this Cardinals’ pass game remains the same as what we saw last season, with a horizontally spread nature and sporadic downfield attempts. The secondary of the Vikings, with Breshaud Breeland and newcomer Patrick Peterson at corner, and Xavier Woods and Harrison Smith at safety, is well equipped to deal with the possession style of the perimeter receivers in this offense but should struggle to contain any deep passing.

Likeliest Game Flow :: 

There’s an interesting dynamic to this game that gives a high level of uncertainty with respect to the likeliest game flow, in that we should expect Mike Zimmer’s defensive philosophy to revolve around stopping the run and forcing teams into longer down and distance to go situations, which is exactly how the Cardinals should be looking to attack here. That said, the largest influence on how this game plays out is likely to be the Cardinals’ level of success in downfield passing, particularly considering the Vikings’ struggles containing that area in their Week 1 matchup with the Bengals.

It is likeliest the Cardinals dictate the pace and tempo here via the aforementioned metrics. Basically, the Vikings would like to rely on their run game to open up the pass but are entirely capable and willing to turn to the air when required. If the Cardinals connect on a couple of downfield strikes, or are able to methodically move the chains to start the game, we could see this game turn into one of the bigger shootouts on the slate. The Vikings should be able to absolutely dismantle the heavy Cover-1 usage of the Cardinals if forced to the air early as Kirk Cousins has averaged a 123.6 passer rating over the previous three seasons against the Cardinals’ primary coverage scheme, which ranked first in the league over that span. Conversely, if the Vikings are able to control the line of scrimmage on either side, this game could disappoint from a box score perspective. The numbers and metrics tell us the former should be the likeliest case, but I want it to be clear that this game comes with a fairly wide range of potential outcomes, so ensure any exposure to this game is built with particular game scripts in mind.

DFS+ Interpretation ::

Hilow >>

It is difficult to get overly excited about any single member of the Cardinals outside of Kyler Murray, meaning all of DeAndre Hopkins, AJ Green, Christian Kirk, Rondale Moore, Chase Edmonds, and James Conner carry wide ranges of outcomes due to the low expected concentration of opportunities. Naked Kyler always carries merit, but any pairing is almost akin to throwing darts blindly at a board full of confetti balloons. 

My primary interest comes from the Vikings side, as all of Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, Dalvin Cook, and KJ Osborn carry some level of appeal, in that order for me. Justin Jefferson has the chance to absolutely feast if, and only if, the Vikings can keep Cousins upright long enough for his routes to develop. Adam Thielen carries the highest floor of non-Dalvin Cook players, while KJ Osborn is an interesting low-cost dart throw if his usage carries over from Week 1. Dalvin is likely to experience efficiency troubles once more, but the close to 30 expected running back opportunities really speaks for itself here.

Finally, the Cardinals defense has the chance to wreak havoc as far as pressure on the quarterback goes, so they are once again an appealing option this week (quick note there: if they are projected to carry substantial ownership, it is an extremely sharp take to look elsewhere and build primary rosters around this game shooting out).

JM >>

The Vikings’ implied team total is under 24, on a week in which 13 teams(!) have an implied total of 25 or higher. Their saving grace in this spot is the game environment, as an implied team total of 23.25 as an underdog tells us a different story than 23.25 as a favorite. The Vikings will likely be forced into an aggressive mindset as this one moves along, and with how concentrated this offense is, there’s upside to hunt for. Arizona’s defense ranked ninth in pass defense DVOA last year and 14th in rush defense (they’re no cupcake), and they play at a faster speed than Kirk Cousins’ arm. But the Vikings do enough things right, and enough should open up throughout this game, for some big plays to develop downfield. Any of the Big 3 on the Vikings could hit, but the highest likelihood of a ceiling game goes Jefferson > Thielen > Dalvin (though while Jefferson has a better shot at a ceiling game, Thielen carries a better chance of avoiding a dud; all of this was written before reading Hilow’s writeup, but basically echoes everything he said). None appear to be must plays, but as is almost always the case with this competent, enormously concentrated offense, there’s no reason to keep these guys away from “tighter player pool” consideration deep into the week.

Arizona, of course, is the team that will need to be responsible for creating the aforementioned game environment — and they should be happy to oblige. There will be some plays in this game where Kyler scrambles around and no one is open, but there’s also a good chance that some big plays develop downfield. Realize: this is the type of game in which a 75+-point final game total doesn’t fall too far outside the range of reasonable outcomes, and all of the Cardinals players are sharply priced on DK for their roughly-median game (that is, a game in which they win something like a 27-21 or 28-24 game, as Vegas is projecting). This means that in order for these players to contribute to a tourney-winning roster, they have to be in a higher-scoring game environment; and with how concentrated the Vikings’ offense is, a game in which Arizona is flying above their implied total is also a game in which one or two Vikings pieces are posting a DFS score in the range of “big” to “huge.” Put it all together, and I really don’t care which Arizona players I play (as noted already, there are no mispricings around the bunch, so understand the floor and ceiling that belongs to each respective price tag, but you could build around any of them that you want), so much as I care that I have a Vikings piece on any roster with an Arizona piece. (Because the Arizona offense is less concentrated, this doesn’t necessarily apply on the other side of the ball. You could conceivably get away with playing a Vikings piece on a roster with no one from Arizona. But even if you’re starting with the Vikings’ side, I’d say that if you’re going to bet on a piece from this game, you might as well maximize that bet in a spot with such obvious shootout upside.)

In summary:

Jefferson > Thielen > Dalvin

Literally any Arizona piece (with Hopkins > Kirk > Rondale > AJG the order in which I rank WR ceiling, and with Edmonds much likelier to hit than Conner), but with a rule of “include one Vikings piece if playing an Arizona piece.” Of course, a Kyler/Vikings-WR pairing tells an obviously-strong story, and will be low-owned enough as a combo that you could eliminate nearly all guesswork and just take this setup — with the value of adding an “ARI WR guess” to this roster increasing as you get into larger tourney fields.

By LexMiraglia10 >>

Overview:

  • This will be Kyler & Kliff’s first matchup vs Mike Zimmer
  • ARI scored 38 pts vs TEN in the first 3 quarters; scored 27+ in 8/16 games in 2020
  • MIN allowed 27 CIN pts in 70 minutes of play in W1; allowed 27+ in 10/16 games in 2020
  • On CIN’s 3 straight TD drives, they gained 225 yds on 9.4 yds/play (24 plays)
  • On the rest of CIN’s drives, they gained 141 yds on 3.1 yds/play (46 plays)
  • This MIN Def is much more talented than 2020 with better CBs and star Danielle Hunter back on the edge
  • MIN pts allowed rank with Zimmer: 11th // 5th // 6th // 1st // 9th // 5th // 29th
  • MIN pass yds allowed rank with Zimmer: 7th // 12th // 3rd // 2nd // 3rd // 15th // 25th

Kyler Murray:

  • MIN sacked Burrow five times in W1; Kyler was sacked twice by TEN
  • Kyler dropped from 48 sacks in year one to 27 in year two
  • Burrow passed for 261:2:0 vs MIN
  • Kyler Murray DK pts in games with final totals of 50+ pts: 24.12 // 28.92 // 41.1 // 41.92 // 30.9 // 18.42 // 38.14 // 34.56
  • Kyler’s only games under 20 DK pts in 2020 (QB DK pts allowed rank, notable coach): 18.5 (6th, Patrick Graham) // 18.4 (1st, Brandon Staley) // 16.4 (8th, Robert Saleh) // 8.9 (7th, Bill Belichick) // 3.8 (1st, Staley)
  • Before ranking 14th in QB DK pts allowed with 20/g in 2020, Zimmer’s MIN defenses have ranked: 9th (16.3) // 3rd (15.2) // 3rd (13.1) // 5th (16.2) // 10th (17.4) // 9th (16.8)

ARI WRs:

  • Routes in W1: Hop (35) // Green (32) // Kirk (23) // Moore (14)
  • Targets in W1: Hop (8) // Green (6) // Kirk (5) // Moore (5)
  • CIN WRs in W1 vs MIN: Chase: 5:101:1 (7) // Higgins: 4:58:1 (5) // Boyd: 3:32 (4)
  • Patrick Peterson took on Andre Johnson all the way back in 2013 when Hop was a rookie, so their only true matchup came in 2017 when Hop finished with 4:76:1 (8) with Tom Savage at QB
  • PFF has graded Peterson’s play at a steep decline over the last two years
  • Hopkins received double-digit targets in 9/16 games in 2020, only falling below 7 targets once; he had 8 on 32 Kyler att in W1 (25%)
  • 2020: Of Hopkins 8 games of 20+ DK pts, 7 came in Wins, and in 5 ARI scored 30+ pts
  • Hop scored 20+ DK pts in a W1 win in which ARI scored 30+ pts

ARI RBs:

  • 2020: Edmonds was under 10 att in every game except two (25, 11), and Drake missed the one he received 25
  • Week 1: Edmonds received 12 att to Conner’s 16 (though he gained 2 more yds/att)
  • Conner received 8 of the final 9 rush att, coming on the final garbage time drives
  • Rush att before the last two drives: Edmonds (9) // Conner (8)
  • Edmonds caught 3+ passes in 11/16 games in 2020, and started W1 with 4 rec
  • 2020 ARI rush att inside the 5: Drake (21), Kyler (7), Edmonds (1)
  • Kyler had the only rush att inside the 5 in Week 1
  • Mixon scored a TD on one of his two att inside the 5 vs MIN in W1
  • MIN’s struggles against RBs carried over from 2020 for at least one more week, with Mixon turning 33 touches into 150 yds, TD

Kirk Cousins:

  • Final game totals of Cousins 25+ pt DK scores with MIN: 2020 (51 // 59 // 63 // 55 // 72) /// 2019 (50 // 58 // 72) /// 2018 (50 // 41 // 69 // 58)
  • 11/12 games came in 50+ pt finishes, with 7/12 over 58 pts
  • ARI sacked Tannehill 6 times, forcing 2 fumbles in W1
  • Cousins has been sacked 3+ times in 20 of 50 MIN starts, with an average of 2.5 sacks over the 50 games
  • Only one of MIN’s five offensive linemen was graded well in pass protection by PFF in W1 vs CIN
  • Since 2014, Road underdog QBs on teams implied for 24+ pts have averaged 1.35 pts above expected (determined by salary)

MIN WRs:

  • ARI held AJ Brown & Julio Jones to a combined 7:79:1 on 14 targets in W1
  • Jefferson out-targeted Thielen in 7 of the last 8 games in 2020; Thielen led 10 to 9 in W1
  • Jefferson has 70+ yds in 8 of his last 9 games
  • Thielen has caught at least one TD in 11/17 games since last year
  • The only games in which BOTH guys have failed to produce since last year: 11-28 L vs IND // 28-22 W vs GB (Dalvin w/ 51.6 DK pts) // 34-20 W vs DET (Dalvin w/ 42.2 DK pts) // 14-26 L vs TB

Dalvin Cook:

  • The only RBs to break 80 rush yds vs ARI in 2020 were Mike Davis (84) & Jeff Wilson (183)
  • Derrick Henry was held to 58 yds on 17 att in a blowout loss in W1
  • Dalvin has scored at least one TD in 24 of his 31 games since 2019; seven 2+ TD games in that span
  • As an underdog since 2019 (12 g), Dalvin has five games each of 30+ DK pts & under 20 DK pts

MIN “Rule” (DK pts):

  • Since start of 2020, leading MIN scorer: 32 // 15.1 // 33.5, 29.9 // 31.6, 29.2 // 29.3, 39.5 (DC+AM) // 42.6 // 51.6 // 42.2 // 24.5, 20.3 // 35.3, 29 // 26 // 30.3, 26.9 // 22 // 29.9 // 23.7, 23.3 // 30.2
  • Only one of 17 games has failed to produce a 20+ pt scorer
  • 14/17 games produced a 25+ pt scorer
  • 11/17 games produced a 30+ pt scorer

Kickoff Sunday, Sep 19th 4:05pm Eastern

Falcons (
19.5) at

Bucs (
32.5)

Over/Under 52.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Falcons Run D
27th DVOA/24th Yards allowed per carry
Buccaneers Run O
12th DVOA/31st Yards per carry
Falcons Pass D
27th DVOA/19th Yards allowed per pass
Buccaneers Pass O
6th DVOA/5th Yards per pass
Buccaneers Run D
5th DVOA/2nd Yards allowed per carry
Falcons Run O
32nd DVOA/24th Yards per carry
Buccaneers Pass D
14th DVOA/30th Yards allowed per pass
Falcons Pass O
29th DVOA/24th Yards per pass

GAME OVERVIEW ::

BY Hilow >>
  • A glaring example of a game that has a wide range of real-world outcomes
  • With a setup like this, it is highest EV to either attack the game fully or fade it fully, with the additional knowledge that the field will not be entering many game stacks into play
  • One of the rare cases where naked Brady is interesting as a leverage piece

HOW Atlanta WILL TRY TO WIN ::

Matt Ryan’s line in Week 1: 164 yards and no touchdowns. Calvin Ridley: 5/51/0 on eight targets. Kyle Pitts: 4/31/0 on eight targets. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. I do this not to influence our own process, but rather to highlight how the field is likely reacting (or overreacting) to Week 1. We were drafting this offense as an uptempo, concentrated, and capable offense all offseason in Best Ball. Are we really about to allow one week to change our entire offseason process? I sure as hell am not. Okay, with that out of the way, let’s dig in! We saw my personnel usage call from this preseason ring true out of Atlanta in Week 1, although, as predicted, their personnel usage rates only tell half the story as rookie tight end Kyle Pitts was used all over the field. On paper, it says Atlanta ran 51% 12-personnel when in reality it was more akin to a spread 11-personnel alignment. Kyle Pitts saw a 61% snap rate in Week 1, with Hayden Hurst at 60%, Russell Gage at 68%, Calvin Ridley at 85%, and tertiary options all sitting around 7-29%. Look for this Arthur Smith-led offense to come out firing after a week filled with self-reflection.

The backfield was dominated by Mike Davis, who played a massive 75% of the offensive snaps in Week 1 and saw a solid 21 running back opportunities in one of the worst game scripts he will see all season. That level of usage is one tier below elite, but we might have to wait until Week 5 against the Jets to truly capitalize on it, with matchups against the Buccaneers, Giants, and Football Team on tap over the next three weeks. Behind Davis, converted wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson saw a 35% snap rate and nine running back (?) opportunities, and Keith Smith mopped up some meaningless end of game snaps for five running back opportunities. The matchup is no beuno this week against a defense that allowed the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing backfield in 2020. Atlanta’s offensive line actually performed quite well in Week 1, inflating the net-adjusted line yards metric to a value of 4.37 yards. I won’t be going here, but nobody else will either.

Calvin Ridley saw a ridiculous 50.3% of the team’s available air yards with an average depth of target of 12.0 in Week 1. Yeah, the dude will be fine. Not the greatest matchup on paper on tap, but this is a guy that can beat any matchup as evidenced by his seventh-ranked average cushion in Week 1 of 6.86. If this offense puts up points against the Bucs, he will likely be a large reason why. Rookie “tight end” Kyle Pitts saw a 31.4% air yards share in Week 1 which ranked third amongst all tight ends. His average cushion created was 4.73, second in the league. He saw snaps inline (11), in the slot (20), and split wide (12). The largest problem for the Falcons in Week 1 was an offensive line that ranked above average in run-blocking metrics but allowed an unsightly 41% pressure rate, which was a problem for quarterback Matt Ryan all afternoon. With another high expected pressure rate on top for Week 2, look for Arthur Smith to adjust and get the ball out of Ryan’s hands quicker. The weakness of this Bucs defense over the last 20+ games has been over the middle of the field toward slot coverage Sean Murphy-Bunting, who landed on IR following the season opener. Ross Cockrell should step into the slot coverage after playing 86% of his snaps from the slot in Week 1. He is a 6’0” defensive back with 4.56 speed, 36th percentile speed scores, 51st percentile burst scores, and 11th percentile agility scores. Russell Gage played 59% of his snaps from the slot in 2020 and started the year at a 51% slot snap rate and is an interesting option against the weakest part of the Buccaneers defense.

HOW Tampa Bay WILL TRY TO WIN ::

This is Brady’s world, we’re all just living in it. The Bucs showed us an ungodly 78% situation-neutral pass rate in Week 1, likely inflated due to the specific opponent’s propensity to put up points. Said another way, Arians likely kept his foot on the gas knowing full well the Cowboys could come back at any time. Although this is still a pass-heavy team, we’re likely to see a steady trickle-regression towards their 2020 rate of 62% as the season progresses. There’s not much else to say regarding how Tampa Bay will attempt to win games as literally nothing has changed for this team in almost a full calendar year.

Bruce Arians’ most recent quote surrounding this backfield was that any one of his three running backs could be “named” the starter, so take the vote of confidence he gave Ronald Jones this week by naming him the starter with a grain of salt. The truth is that all of Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones, and Giovani Bernard are going to be involved on a weekly basis, with the always present threat of the coaching staff riding the hot hand. The 4.45 net-adjusted line yards metric falls right in the middle of Week 2’s range, but the bigger hurdle to fantasy utility is the unknown weekly nature of the division of usage between these three backs.

As we saw in Week 1, any one (or two or three) of the pass-catchers from this offense can pop in any given game. All of Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Antonio Brown, and the reincarnation of Rob Gronkowski offer sky-high ceilings each and every week. As we also saw in Week 1, Tom Brady is completely fine taking what an opposing defense gives him, evidenced by the sparse involvement of Mike Evans, who drew shadow coverage from Dallas’ only above average defender. I can’t imagine defensive coordinator Dean Pees blitzes Brady heavily in this spot (which would open up the middle of the field and the sidelines), which should mean a lot of zone coverages. Any one of the aforementioned four superstars can beat zone regularly, so consider this a high ceiling spot across the board, but one that comes with lower-than-perceived floor.

LIKELIEST GAME FLOW :: 

The likeliest game flow will be completely driven by the Falcons’ ability to put points on the board. What I mean by that is this: regardless of the score on the scoreboard, we can expect Tom Brady and the Bucs to attack this game largely the same, but the Falcons will need to keep pressure on for their above average pass rate and pace of play to tickle the ungodly realm. The Falcons have the pieces to put points up in this setup, and I can all but guarantee the field will be light on game stacks from this game, so keep that in mind when building this week. If the Falcons flounder once more, the entire fantasy utility from this game fades as it likely limits the Buccaneers’ aerial aggression and instead filters additional work through a three-headed backfield

DFS+ Interpretation ::

By LexMiraglia10 >>

Overview:

  • ATL actually hung tight in both matchups last year before ultimately being overwhelmed by TB’s offensive & defensive talent
  • Gone is stud C Alex Mack, in are a rookie G and 2nd-year (first-time starter) C
  • After getting manhandled by PHI’s defensive front in W1, ATL now gets an even stronger one in TB
  • ATL had the 5th lowest pass block win rate in W1 while TB had the 4th highest pass rush win rate (against a much better DAL Oline)
  • After 29 plays that gained 146 yds and ended in two short FGs, ATL’s drives the rest of the game gained yardages of: 10 // 4 // 4 // 0 // 14 // 22 // 4 // 6 // 13

Matt Ryan:

  • Ryan threw for 164 yds with 17.6 QBR in W1 vs PHI
  • 2020: ATL scored 27 vs TB behind two Ryan 3-TD with no Julio in either game
  • TB’s defensive front is going to continue to force teams to pass at a high rate
  • QB who lacks mobility behind extremely poor offensive line that struggles to pass & run block against a defensive line that excels in taking advantage of both

Calvin Ridley:

  • 39 of Ridley’s 51 W1 yds came on the opening drive
  • Ridley vs TB in 2020: 10:163:1 // 8:52
  • DAL WRs vs TB in W1: Cooper (13:139:2) // Lamb (7:104:1)
  • 24 Alpha WRs (defined here by 25+% MS & 15+ DKppg) have been 10+ pt underdogs since 2014
  • Those 24 WRs have reached expected fantasy points (determined by salary) just 33% of the time, and have scored 25+ DK pts just twice (Keenan: 32.7 // Julio: 27.8)

Kyle Pitts:

  • Pitts tied Ridley for the team-lead in targets (8), with the two combining for 45.7% of Ryan’s targets
  • He turned those 4 targets into just 31 yds
  • TB allowed Schultz & Jarwin to combine for 9 rec 65 yds in W1
  • Pitts snaps in W1: 12 Inline, 23 Slot, 14 Wide
  • 31 routes on 40 Ryan dropbacks per PFF

Mike Davis:

  • TB held Zeke/Pollard to combined 14 att for 47 yds, 6 rec for 35 yds
  • No team allowed fewer rush yds than TB in 2020, with the next closest team allowing nearly 200 yds more; 2019 TB allowed the fewest by 100+ yds as well
  • In 20 games, Kamara, CMC, & Cook were the only RBs to break 20 DK pts vs TB, and AK & CMC both needed 2 TDs to get there
  • Gurley & AK were the only two RBs to break 20 DK pts in 2019 vs TB, and they combined for 17 rec in those 2 games
  • Davis got 15 att, 6 targets in first game as ATL starter

Overview (TB):

  • Brady is 8-0 lifetime vs ATL (not predictive of this game but kind of funny)
  • TB carries the highest total on the slate
  • TB pts since adding AB: 3 // 46 // 24 // 24 // 26 // 31 // 47 // 44 // 31 // 30 // 31 // 31 // 31

Tom Brady:

  • 78 QBs since 2019 have averaged 22.1 DK pts/g as a 10+ pt favorite
  • Brady has averaged 2.8 TDs/g over his last 12 games (the 12 since that NOR blowout)
  • ATL allowed 264 yds, 3 TD to Jalen Hurts through the air in W1
  • Brady has cleared 320 yds in 4/7 matchups vs Dean Pees coordinated defenses with an overall 9:5 TD:INT ratio; however, only two matchups have occurred since 2016: his two worst games of the seven in 2018 & 2019 vs TEN
  • Brady’s notable pass-catchers on TB vs the NE guys he had in last matchup with Pees: AB, Evans, Godwin, Gronk // Edelman, Harry, Sanu, Ben Watson

TB WRs:

  • Top WR score in games Brady scored 20+ DK pts since adding AB: 19.7 // 20 // 20.3 // 43.1 // 39.8, 33.3 // 20.9 // 7.4 // 19.6 // 13.2 // 27.5, 26.7
  • TB WRs times leading/tied for lead in targets w/ AB: Evans (6), Godwin (6), Brown (5)
  • ATL allowed 6:71:1 & 6:49:1 to Devonta Smith & Jalen Reagor in W1
  • 195 WRs since 2014 averaging 13+ DK pts/g on season have averaged 18.4 DK pts/g as a 10+ pt favorite (23% scored 26+ DK pts)
  • Mike Evans has just three games of more than just 20 DK pts with Brady, and two of them (26.4 / 28.1) came before TB added Brown
  • His best game (10:181:2 / 43.1 DK pts) came in one of TB’s three 2020 games as a 10+ pt favorite (DET)
  • TB WRs vs ATL in 2020: Evans (6:110 // 3:46) // Godwin (4:36:1 // 5:133:2) // Brown (5:93:1 // 11:138:2) /// Evans left early in the second matchup

Rob Gronkowski:

  • Gronk’s last two games: 8:90:2 // 6:67:2
  • TB’s margin of victory in Gronk’s 10+ pt DK scores in 2020: -3 // +2 // +18 // +22 // +23 // +25 // +28 // +40
  • Gronk vs ATL in 2020: 3:29 // 2:29
  • PHI TEs vs ATL in W1: Goedert (4:42:1) // Ertz (2:34)

TB RBs:

  • Ronald Jones benched vs DAL after fumbling
  • RoJo only scored above 20 DK pts three times in 2021, and Fournette played 0 snaps in two of them
  • Fournette hit 15 att once in the regular season, but saw 19, 17, 12, 16 att in the playoffs
  • Fournette got just 9 rush att in W1 (4 for RoJo); (Brady threw 50 times)
  • Fournette did get 7 targets to Gio’s 3 in W1
  • Sanders & Gainwell combined for 24 att 111 yds, TD and 6 rec 45 yds vs ATL

Kickoff Sunday, Sep 19th 4:25pm Eastern

Titans (
24) at

Hawks (
30)

Over/Under 54.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Titans Run D
24th DVOA/13th Yards allowed per carry
Seahawks Run O
6th DVOA/19th Yards per carry
Titans Pass D
30th DVOA/28th Yards allowed per pass
Seahawks Pass O
3rd DVOA/10th Yards per pass
Seahawks Run D
20th DVOA/31st Yards allowed per carry
Titans Run O
19th DVOA/4th Yards per carry
Seahawks Pass D
20th DVOA/22nd Yards allowed per pass
Titans Pass O
23rd DVOA/16th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By hilow >>
  • Seattle boasts a mismatch in the trenches and is expected to utilize Chris Carson as a true workhorse
  • The Seattle passing game is likely to go over-owned, relative to the likeliest scenario generated volume
  • Although unlikely, a tributary game flow would involve the Titans jumping out to a large lead early, in which case nobody will be on a Russell Wilson/DK Metcalf or Tyler Lockett/Derrick Henry game stack
  • Not much to like from the Titans in the likeliest scenario outcome

How tennessee Will Try To Win ::

The Titans ended Week 1’s contest with 36 pass attempts to just 22 rush attempts, but the underlying metrics paint a different picture. In that game, they held a situation-neutral pass rate of only 40%. The problem was the situation was not neutral for very long as the team was down 24-6 at half. In other words: how Tennessee will try to win games has not changed with the addition of Julio Jones. No, they are not likely to “let Tannehill cook” (okay, that’s not a thing). No, they are not going to force feed the ball to their two star wide receivers. We didn’t see play action from the Titans in Week 1 because, well, they couldn’t establish a baseline to run play action (play action at the lowest rate in the league in Week 1). What I saw out of their performance last week was poor situational play calling and poor execution on both sides of the ball. I saw unblocked edge rushers with a direct path to Tannehill off a bootleg. I saw heavy rush rates on early downs in the first half. I saw predictability and lack of execution on offense, along with miscommunications and poor positionings on defense. That is to be expected early in the year with a new coordinator on each side. But are those areas of the game plan likely to be corrected in the span of one week? Maybe. Unlikely, but maybe.

Tennesee left Week 1 with a lowly 3.40 adjusted line yards metric, but a lot of that feels misleading in the sense that they were never able to keep the Cardinals off balance (their bread and butter). Seattle ranked middle of the pack as far as adjusted line yards goes on defense in Week 1, ceding a value of 3.97 to the borderline elite Colts. Expect Seattle to again focus on doing what they can to eliminate the run after allowing a lowly 3.9 average yards per rush attempt in 2020, due in large part to the growth of nose tackle Poona Ford, whom the team recently signed to a lucrative extension. The truth is likely somewhere in the middle here as far as matchup is concerned, with Tennessee almost assuredly set to improve after their Week 1 fiasco, and Seattle well equipped to handle it. That said, Seattle allowed the sixth lowest second level yards to opposing running backs in 2020 at 1.06 per touch, meaning prototypical long Derrick Henry runs are that much more unlikely here.

We saw how much this Titans pass game efficiency revolves around play action in Week 1, with the team all but falling flat on their face in all aspects of their game plan. In another matchup that provides questions with respect to their ability to generate the rhythm on offense required for play action to be successful, it is hard to get overly excited about the pass game as a whole. That said, we know the kind of small sample efficiency both AJ Brown and Julio Jones possess. The chances of this game turning into a back-and-forth shootout are fairly low, meaning each (plus Ryan Tannehill) should only be utilized in game stacks that tell the story of Seattle jumping out to a large lead early.

How seattle Will Try To Win ::

Seattle showed us in Week 1 that they intend to snap back to a more balanced offense in 2021. Their 49% situation-neutral pass rate from Week 1 was sixth lowest, down from 60% in 2020. Their new offensive coordinator, Shane Waldron, came over from the Rams pass game coordinator position, where the team ranked 26th in the NFL in 2020 in situation-neutral pass rate at 56%. The addition of tight end Gerald Everett also predictably showed up in their personnel usage rates, with the team running 12-personnel 38% of the time, the third highest rate in the league behind Atlanta (not really 12-personnel) and New England (obvious via their offseason personnel moves). Their 57% 11-personnel rate was down slightly from their season long average of 66% in 2020, even with the addition of rookie wide receiver Dee Eskridge. So what does all this data tell us? It tells us we should expect a run-balanced offense moving forward.

One of the most surprising statistics (to me, at least) that I came across when researching games this week was the absolute domination of this Seahawks offensive line against a team that allowed only 3.76 running back yards per carry in 2020. Seattle generated the second highest adjusted line yards in Week 1 at 5.37, second only to the top run-blocking offensive line in 2020, the Browns. The 19 rushes by their running backs averaged 5.47 yards per carry, again, against the defense that finished fourth in the league in yards allowed per carry to opposing backfields in 2020! That is impressive stuff. Running back Chris Carson saw 19 of the 23 available running back opportunities for the Seahawks in Week 1 and backup running back Rashaad Penny is expected to miss Week 2. Tennessee, on the other hand, finished Week 1 with the 24th ranked adjusted line yards metric on defense at 4.67, leading to a net-adjusted line yards metric of 5.02. For comparison sake, an over 5.0 net-adjusted line yards metric happened about once every week on average in 2020 across the entire NFL (it just happens to be the second-ranked net-adjusted line yards metric for Week 2 behind the otherworldly Browns). The Seahawks left Week 1 with two red zone rush attempts and two red zone pass attempts, something that could be a telling statistic after the Rams attempted a whopping 81 running back rush attempts in the red zone last season. For comparison, Josh Jacobs led the league in red zone rush attempts in 2020 at 64. Those same Rams running backs combined for 54 total green zone rushing attempts in 2020, with Josh Jacobs again leading the way from an individual player at 35. Will this be a trend or statistical noise moving forward for Seattle? No idea, but I sure as hell am going to be early on it if it turns out to be the new norm.

Not much has changed with respect to Seattle’s pass game other than a potential dip to weekly expected pass attempts (in neutral to positive game scripts). This is still an offense expected to be highly efficient through the air with the trio of Russell Wilson, DK Metcalf, and Tyler Lockett. Metcalf and Lockett both played on over 85% of their team’s Week 1 snaps, with both Gerald Everett and Will Dissly trailing them slightly at 72% and 70%, respectively. The matchup is a good one against a team playing with five new starters on the defensive side of the ball, with a new defensive coordinator at the helm. We also know that Seattle will continue attacking the intermediate to deep areas of the field when they do throw, areas the Titans expectedly struggled with in Week 1. Consider all pass-catchers “bet on efficiency” plays that are likely to garner increased ownership this week.

Likeliest Game Flow :: 

The likeliest game flow involves the Seahawks winning early on both sides of the ball and controlling the pace and tempo of the game. Chris Carson has room for 20-24 running back opportunities in this case and is highly appealing from a leverage and Game Theoretic standpoint with the main ownership from the Seahawks expected to come from the pass game. It is likely the Titans focus their time and efforts this week on cleaning up the execution errors and lack of dynamic play-calling, which should keep this game closer for longer than what we saw out of this team in Week 1. In all, the field is likely to understate the significance of this game’s lofty game total, and more specifically, Seattle’s lofty team total. Although unlikely (which means it doesn’t warrant a full tributaries write up), if the Titans somehow jump out to a multi-score lead early, this game could turn into one of the week’s “had to have it” games, and nobody will be on a tributary game stack.

DFS+ Interpretation ::

By LexMiraglia10 >>

Overview:

  • DAL is the only underdog with a higher implied team total than TEN in W2 (main slate)
  • Only TB & CLE have higher implied team totals than SEA in W2
  • SEA gained more yds than IND despite running 18 fewer plays
  • SEA & TEN faced the highest amount of passes in 2020, allowing the 2nd & 4th most pass yds; TEN allowed 13 more pass TDs

Russell Wilson:

  • TEN allowed the 5th most QB DK pts in 2020, and allowed the biggest QB score of W1 to Kyler Murray
  • Wilson threw for 254 yds, 4 TDs in his first game with new OC Shane Waldron
  • Wilson’s 23 pass att in W1 were 4 att lower than any game in 2020 (lowest since 20 att in Week 8 of 2019)
  • Since 2019, SEA has been implied for 28+ pts in 11 games; Wilson had a hot stretch in 2020 in which he was allowed to “cook” for 5 games of 25+ DK pts, but in the other 6 (including the last four), Wilson has scored 15.7 // 11.0 // 20.1 // 14.4 // 17.0 // 23.1
  • 28, 31, 43, 27, 31, 20 // 30
  • Wilson averaged 39.4 pass att in the stretch of big scores, but just 30 pass att in the others (just 1 of 6 higher than 31 att)

SEA WRs:

  • Top DK score between Lockett/Metcalf in the aforementioned 11 games with 28+ team totals: 19 // 2.2 // 40 // 17.6 // 27.3 // 56 // 26.8 // 21.7 // 30.7 // 13 // 18.1
  • Times leading: Lockett (5) // Metcalf (6)
  • Lockett & Metcalf finished with 132 & 129 targets in 2020; each saw 5 in W1
  • Only ATL allowed more WR DK pts than TEN in 2020, and only TB allowed more WR DK pts than TEN in W1
  • TEN allowed ARI WRs to score 26.3 (Hop) // 24 (Kirk) // 10.8 (Moore)

Chris Carson:

  • TEN allowed the 7th most RB DK pts in 2020
  • Edmonds & Conner rushed for 116 yds on 28 att vs TEN in W1
  • Carson received 19 of SEA’s 22 RB touches in W1
  • Carson rushed for 91 yds on 16 att vs tough IND run defense in W1
  • Carson didn’t top 17 rush att in 2020 after 8 games of 20+ att in 2019
  • In 14 games as a Home Favorite since 2019, Carson has topped 20 DK pts just four times, with a high score of just 25

Ryan Tannehill:

  • During new OC Todd Downing’s only time as an OC (2017 OAK), his offense utilized play action at the 3rd lowest rate in the NFL that year (14%)
  • Ryan Tannehill’s YPA with & without play action in 2020: 9.7 vs 7.0
  • Tannehill’s play action rate dropped from 36.4% in 2020 to 11.6% in W1 (though it should be noted they were trailing big for large portion of the game)
  • SEA allowed the 6th most QB DK pts in 2020; Wentz finished with 251:2 in W1
  • SEA sacked Wentz three times; Tanny was sacked six times vs ARI
  • 2020: The game scores of his 7 games of 20+ DK pts read: 46-25, 42-36, 35-41, 42-16, 41-38, 33-30, 30-24
  • Tanny as Road Dog with TEN (DK pts): 28 // 7 // 18.8 // 17.5 // 22.9 // 19.1 // 18.3

TEN WRs:

  • 2020: SEA allowed the most WR rec, 2nd most WR rec yds, 4th most WR DK pts
  • W1: SEA played decently vs IND WRs, allowing 122 yds, 2 TD on 14 targets
  • Even in a game TEN got blown out and ran over 60 plays, Brown & Julio only received 8 & 6 targets in W1
  • TEN had a 100+ yd WR in 10/16 games last year
  • In 12 games as an Underdog with Tanny, Brown has produced just 3 games of 20+ DK pts, with a high of 25.8
  • SEA faced the 3rd highest pass rate in 2020 (16th in W1)
  • In Julio’s two games vs SEA since 2019, he has 150+ rec yds in both (on 24 targets from Matt Ryan)

Derrick Henry:

  • SEA ranked 7th best in defensive rush DVOA in 2020
  • Taylor & Hines combined for 90 yds on 26 att in W1 (3.5 yds/att)
  • In 16 games in SEA since 2019, the only opposing RBs to score 20+ DK pts are Kamara (37.1; 9:92:1 through the air) // Drake (36.4) // Akers (28.6)
  • Total touches for those RBs: AK (26) // Drake (28) // Akers (30)
  • Henry as a Road Underdog with Tanny: 24.9 // 30.4 // 29.3 // 14.1 // 23.2 // 41.5 // 9.8
  • The scores of 20+ DK pts all came in Wins except for the first one listed, in which Henry caught one of only 3 rec TDs in his career

TEN Trends:

  • Tanny & Henry’s DK pts in Tanny’s 6 big scores: 37 (RT), 28.2 (DH) // 33.6, 43.4 // 31.6, 6.9 // 30, 19.3 // 28.4, 39 // 26.8, 8.4
  • Those are combined scores of 65.2 // 77 // 38.5 // 49.3 // 67.4 // 35.2
  • At least one TEN player scored 20+ DK pts in 14/16 games in 2020
  • 20+ DK pts tally: Henry (8) // Brown (7) // Davis (4) // Jonnu (2) // Firkser (1)
  • At least one TEN player scored 25+ DK pts in 9/16 games in 2020
  • 25+ DK pts tally: Henry (6) // Brown (3) // Davis (2) // Firkser (1)

Kickoff Sunday, Sep 19th 4:25pm Eastern

Cowboys (
26) at

Chargers (
29)

Over/Under 55.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Cowboys Run D
14th DVOA/8th Yards allowed per carry
Chargers Run O
14th DVOA/23rd Yards per carry
Cowboys Pass D
21st DVOA/31st Yards allowed per pass
Chargers Pass O
21st DVOA/4th Yards per pass
Chargers Run D
28th DVOA/30th Yards allowed per carry
Cowboys Run O
3rd DVOA/7th Yards per carry
Chargers Pass D
18th DVOA/4th Yards allowed per pass
Cowboys Pass O
14th DVOA/6th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

BY HILOW >>
  • Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Keenan Allen set up well for additional targets
  • Many will look to Cedrick Wilson as a possible salary-saver, but I am much more interested in Jaylen Guyton from the other side if searching for blowup potential at a low price and low ownership
  • Both primary running backs bring massive question marks (expected usage for Ezekiel Elliott, and seemingly out of nowhere lack of pass game usage for Austin Ekeler)
  • Both tight end stables feature split work and non-bankable volume

HOW DALLAS WILL TRY TO WIN::

Dallas’ overall offensive philosophy remains consistent in 2021 when compared to early 2020, the last time quarterback Dak Prescott was healthy. We should continue to expect an elevated pace of play and elevated pass rates as the norm under offensive coordinator Kellen Moore moving forward. The biggest thing we need to understand about this offense, however, is the fact that Moore is entirely willing and able to turn “elevated pass rates” into “extreme pass rates” in negative game scripts, as evidenced by Week 4 of 2020 and Week 1 of 2021. The overall pass rates for Dallas in the first four games of 2020 were 67.7%, which jumped to 76.62% and 76.32% in Week 1 of 2021 and Week 4 of 2020, respectively – both games that Dallas fell behind early. The Cowboys also increased their 12-personnel rates significantly to start the season, running two tight end sets a massive 35% of the time in Week 1 (in 11-personnel only 49% of the time – likely due to OL/DL mismatch against Tampa Bay, but things don’t get easier this week). When evaluating how the Cowboys are likeliest to try and win here, we must take the multitude of injuries (and suspensions) this team has experienced yet again early in the season. Standout offensive lineman La’el Collins was suspended for six games for failure to appear for a league drug test, wide receiver Michael Gallup was placed on IR after Week 1, defensive end Demarcus Lawrence injured his foot in practice and it is reportedly of the “long-term” variety, and cornerback Kelvin Joseph and defensive tackle Neville Gallimore are both out with long-term injuries.

Running back Ezekiel Elliott is still a top-five running back, at least as far as snap rate and running back opportunity are concerned. We saw him flounder last season after Prescott was lost for the year, while the team also dealt with numerous injuries along the offensive line. This season, La’el Collins will miss the next third of the season and the Cowboys’ defense seemingly got worse, indicating a situation where they should be forced into more aerial aggression over the coming six weeks than they would otherwise like. That said, All-Pro guard Zack Martin returns for Week 2 after missing the season opener on the COVID list. The matchup on the ground for this one is also less than ideal. Opposing defensive tackle Linval Joseph is one of PFF’s top-rated run-stoppers over the previous three seasons and the Chargers are fresh off a stifling performance against fellow borderline-elite-usage running back Antonio Gibson, giving up only 4.17 yards per running back opportunity (23 carries and seven targets). In all, this is definitely not a “get-right” spot for Mr. Elliott.

We should see the inflated 12-personnel rates continue into Week 2 after perimeter wide receiver Michael Gallup suffered a calf injury in Week 1, who was subsequently placed on IR. This should spell additional snaps for Cedrick Wilson, Noah Brown, and Simi Fehoko, likely in that order. The overall setup for the Cowboys’ pass game expectation points to primarily short-intermediate routes through Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and the tight ends (Dalton Schultz and Blake Jarwin) as the Chargers look to allow their vaunted pass rush to create organic pressure without the need for elevated blitz rates, allowing their second level to settle into complex zone assignments. Consider both Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb favorites to end the week amongst the top five wide receivers in targets.

HOW LOS ANGELES WILL TRY TO WIN ::

Offensive Coordinator Joe Lombardi’s offense appeared similar to how it did from his time in New Orleans as the quarterbacks coach, with heavy utilization of the “X” receiver (Mike Williams) and power run scheme, but he carried over the high pace of play from the 2020 Chargers team. The most surprising aspect of the Week 1 usage was the zero targets for running back Austin Ekeler, who is not best utilized as a power back. That usage contradicts Lombardi’s public statements this offseason which indicated his desire to maximize the talent available (which would be getting the ball to Ekeler out of the backfield in space). Finally, a whopping 33 of Herbert’s 47 pass attempts in Week 1 flowed through three primary players: Keenan Allen (13), Mike Williams (12), and Jared Cook (8). If that usage continues, all three should be considered weekly in what would be a highly concentrated passing attack.

The power run game filtered primarily through Austin Ekeler, but he only out-touched backup Larry Rountree III 15 to 8. Furthermore, all Chargers running backs saw a grand total of ONE target in the passing game in Week 1 (which went to third stringer Justin Jackson), which absolutely nobody would have predicted. The matchup is a good one on the ground (contrary to last week against the Football Team), so there is a chance Lombardi dials up more usage for these backs, but a bet on this backfield is exactly that – a bet on usage and scheme changing from Week 1. The running back snap rate for Week 1 broke down to 58% for Ekeler, 27% for Roundtree III, and 14% for Jackson. Without the typical usage through the air for Ekeler, he is relegated to “yardage and touchdown back” status and would require the bonus and multiple trips to the end zone for utility.

Things get interesting when dissecting this passing attack. Both starting defensive ends will be out for Dallas after Demarcus Lawrence suffered a broken foot in Wednesday’s practice. Coupled with a now top of the league pass blocking offensive line for the Chargers, and Herbert should have all the time in the world to pick the secondary apart. It will be interesting to see how Dallas chooses to deploy cornerback Trevon Diggs in coverage, who is really the only member of their secondary considered above average in coverage (and is fresh off a game in which he shut down Mike Evans, primarily due to sticky coverage). Either way, the heavy slot snap rate for Keenan Allen and likely coverage by Anthony Brown when on the perimeter lead to plus matchups. The tight end snap rates played out as predicted leading into the season in Week 1, with aging Jared Cook seeing the field for 58% of the team’s offensive snaps and physical specimen Donald Parham seeing the field for 51% of the team’s offensive snaps. That led to eight targets for Cook and only one for Parham, but the usage is suspect at best. Jaylen Guyton actually ran the third most routes for the Chargers in Week 1 at 35 (only 30 for Jared Cook), who appears entrenched in the WR3 role (rookie Josh Palmer saw only 14 offensive snaps and ran only eight total routes). Finally, if ever there were a matchup for Ekeler’s targets to increase, this would be it. If they fail to bump in this spot, we might have to accept a low pass game role moving forward.

LIKELIST GAME FLOW :: 

We have an interesting case where we’re likely to see the Chargers dictate the actual game flow while the Cowboys dictate the overall pace. What I mean by that is this: Dallas is likeliest to force an uptempo game through elevated pass rates to the short and intermediate areas of the field while Los Angeles is likeliest to force varying game flows based on their success on both sides of the ball to start the game. Either way, the avenues each team is likeliest to attack here remain constant whether the game scripts plays to a slugfest (highly unlikely), a shootout, or the Chargers taking and holding an early lead. The only game flow that alters how each team is likeliest to attack would be one in which the Cowboys jump out to a multi-score lead, which is highly unlikely here. This gives us a high confidence scenario for the top plays from the game.

DFS+ Interpretation ::

By Alex88 >>

OVERVIEW

  • The Cowboys played at a slower pace than all of last year in Week 1
  • They passed at the second-highest rate in Week 1, while the Charges passed at the 11th
  • The Chargers were 4th in plays in Week 1
  • The Cowboys were still 5th in plays despite the slower pace

Dak Prescott

  • Prescott’s 58 attempts in Week 1 led the league
  • Coming off of injury, with a depleted offensive line and against a strong pass rush in Tampa, he took only one sack
  • Dak’s 31.4 DK points were 4th on the week, his 62 dropbacks 2nd
  • Dak’s DK totals in games with 50+ points under Kellen Moore, excluding the game he was injured last year: 36.4 // 28.7 // 29.2 // 22.5 // 29.9 // 34.6 // 20.5 // 17.7 // 33.6 // 43.8 // 33.5 // 42.3 // 31.4

DAL Passing Attack

  • In Week 1, Dallas used 11 personnel 49%, 12 personnel 35%
  • Amari Cooper played on 89.2% of snaps
  • His 16 targets led the position
  • CeeDee Lamb’s 15 targets were tied for second most with Tyreek Hill
  • Amari finished Week 1 with 13 receptions, 139 yards, & 2 TDs
  • His 41.9 DK points not only led WRs but ALL fantasy positions in Week 1
  • Amari’s DK totals under Kellen Moore in games with 50+ points: 25.6 // 14.4 // 42.6 // 18 // 34.7 // 6.8 (<60% snaps) // 20.3 // 2.9 // 13.8 // 19 // 17.6 // 36.4 // 4.1 // 14.1 // 26.2 // 16.3 // 2.3 // 19.1 // 41.9
  • Lamb played on 73.5% of the snaps
  • He caught only 7 of his 15 targets for 104 yards and 1 TD, good for 26.4 DK points
  • Lamb’s DK totals under Kellen Moore with 50+ points: 20.5 // 11.6 // 25.2 // 23.4 // 16.6 // 7.1 // 10.6 // 19.5 // 23.4 // 26.4
  • Michael Gallup had 7 targets before going down with an injury
  • Cedrick Wilson was the next man up
  • He finished the game with three catches on three targets for 24 yards, and played out of the slot on 85.2% of his 34 snaps (41% of the team total)
  • Tight end Dalton Schultz led in team snap percentage with 68.7
  • He caught all six of his targets for 45 yards, good for 10.5 DK points
  • His PFF grade was 63.0
  • In games with 40+% of the snaps and totals greater than 50, Dalton’s DK points under Kellen Moore are: 22.8 // 8.8 // 17.2 // 1.6 // 12.5 // 7.4 // 8.4 // 9.4 // 5.1 // 10.5
  • Blake Jarwin played on 57.8% of team snaps
  • He caught all three of his targets for 20 yards, 5 DK points
  • His PFF grade was 46.5
  • In games with 40+% of the snaps and totals greater than 50, Jarwin’s DK points under Kellen Moore are: 6 // 0 // 5
  • In all games with 50 totals under Moore: 11.4 // 3.2 // 0 // 11.2 // 6.5 // 5.8 // 11 // 6 // 0 // 5

DAL RBs

  • Ezekiel Elliott led the league in snaps at the RB position for Week 1 with 70
  • That was good for 84.3% of team snaps, 4th in the NFL
  • Out of 70 snaps, Zeke had just 11 rushing attempts (for 33 yards) and two targets (6 yards)
  • Zeke’s 5.9 DK points was his second lowest total under Kellen Moore
  • In games with 50+ points, Zeke’s DK totals have been: 13.3 // 23 // 17.1 // 16.9 // 8.3 // 20.3 // 23.3 // 34 // 30.4 // 23.2 // 17.8 // 21.5 // 23.5 // 22.4 // 3.9 // 13.5 // 20.9 // 5.9
  • On the road against current LA Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley’s LA Rams defense in Week 1 2020, Zeke had 27.7 DK points
  • Tony Pollard played on 20 offensive snaps, for a team share of 24.1%
  • Pollard rushed 3 times for 14 yards and caught all four targets for 29 yards, good for 8.3 DK points
  • Pollard’s DK scores with 24%+ snaps: 2.4 // 24.8 // 2.8 // 25.3 // 7.5 // 10.2 // 6 // 3.2 // 6.8 // 12 // 4.2 // 3.8 // 12.8 // 31.2 (Zeke was inactive against the 49ers) // 3 // 6.4 // 8.3

Justin Herbert

  • He was the second most pressured QB in the league
  • Week 1 opponent Washington’s defense ranked eighth in pressure rate
  • The Chargers acquired Corey Linsley, PFF’s #1 ranked center, and used their first round draft pick on tackle Rashawn Slater
  • Slater opted out of the 2020 NCAA season, but in 2019 graded out at 90.0 by PFF
  • The new Chargers OL kept Herbert clean on 87.8% of his dropbacks against Washington
  • Herbert did take two sacks
  • His sacks happened on two out of six dropbacks where he was under pressure, neither of which was he facing a blitz
  • Dallas just lost Demarcus Lawrence, their highest graded defensive player by PFF at 91.4, 3rd out of 98 edge defenders overall, and 1st in run defense
  • On the road in Washington, Herbert completed 31/47 passes for 337 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT and finished with 18.4 DK points
  • In games with 50+ points, Herbert’s DK totals are: 24 // 27.4 // 41.5 // 23.2 // 26.4 // 21.5 // 30.7 // 31 // 36

LAC Pass Catchers

  • In 11 full games with Herbert last season, Keenan Allen averaged 12.2 targets
  • In Week 1, Allen had 13 targets and a team target share of 27.7% (snap share of 82.7%)
  • That was 7th most in Week 1 at the WR position
  • He caught 9 of them for exactly 100 yards, ending with 22 DK points
  • Allen lined up in the slot 65% of the time, led the team in YAC, and had an ADoT of 8.8
  • Allen’s DK totals in 50+ point games with Herbert: 14.2 // 10.9 // 25.5 // 21.7 // 28.3 // 12.9 // 38.5 // 2.6 (only 36% of snaps)
  • Mike Williams’s DK points in the same games: 30.9 // 1.4 // 21 // 13.1 // 5.8 // 17.2 // 4.2 (only 42% of snaps) // 25.8
  • In Week 1, Mike had 12 targets and a team target share of 25.5% (snap share of 75.3%)
  • Mike produced eight receptions for 82 yards and a score, 22.2 DK points
  • 3rd round draft pick Josh Palmer played on just 17.3% of snaps
  • Jalen Guyton played on 65.4%
  • Guyton had five targets to Palmer’s one
  • Guyton caught three of them for 60 yards, with an ADoT of 16.0
  • Guyton’s notable DK point totals with Herbert: 14.2 // 16.4 // 13.5
  • KJ Hill caught all three of his targets for 30 yards
  • Jared Cook, the new starting TE, averaged 8.6 points for New Orleans last season
  • In Week 1, he led the position with 58% of snaps and 17% of team targets
  • Cook’s 8 targets led to 5 receptions for 56 yards
  • Backup TE, Donald Parham, is 6’8” 240 lbs, with a 7’ wingspan and a 4.68 40 yard dash time
  • Parham had a lone target in Week 1 but no production to show for it
  • Fellow backup Stephen Anderson had 2 targets for a single catch and yard

LAC RBs

  • Austin Ekeler averaged 6.5 targets per game in 2020
  • In 2020, no RBs received more than 5 targets in a game versus Washington
  • Ekeler had zero targets for the first time in his career in Week 1
  • Justin Jackson saw the lone RB target
  • Ekeler had two rushes inside the five yard line last season
  • He had two such rushes in Week 1 against Washington, and converted one for his lone TD
  • Ekeler finished the game with 15 rushes for 57 yards and that TD, for 11.7 DK points
  • Ekeler’s DK points in 50+ point games with Herbert under center (excluding the Tampa game where he was injured): 11.9 // 17.1
  • When active and healthy, Ekeler averaged 17 touches and 93.3 yards per game
  • In Week 1, he played on 58% of the team snaps
  • Larry Rountree doubled Justin Jackson’s usage in Week 1, 27.2% of snaps to 13.6%
  • Rountree had eight rushing attempts for 27 yards
  • Jackson had the aforementioned target, which he caught for two yards, and a single rush for five

Kickoff Sunday, Sep 19th 8:20pm Eastern

Chiefs (
28.5) at

Ravens (
25)

Over/Under 53.5

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Notes

Key Matchups
Chiefs Run D
32nd DVOA/32nd Yards allowed per carry
Ravens Run O
2nd DVOA/1st Yards per carry
Chiefs Pass D
25th DVOA/20th Yards allowed per pass
Ravens Pass O
19th DVOA/21st Yards per pass
Ravens Run D
9th DVOA/6th Yards allowed per carry
Chiefs Run O
30th DVOA/29th Yards per carry
Ravens Pass D
24th DVOA/32nd Yards allowed per pass
Chiefs Pass O
1st DVOA/2nd Yards per pass

Xandamere's Showdown Slant

Sunday night football should be an exciting one as the Chiefs visit the Ravens in a game with a 54.5 total (!), with the visitors favored by 4 points. This is a replay of last year’s Week 3 game in which the Chiefs came out on top 34-20, with the Ravens offense struggling to get going the entire time. Baltimore only generated just over 250 yards of total offense in that one, with Lamar Jackson passing for only 97 yards.

Lamar’s Ravens have struggled against the Chiefs his entire career, going 0-3 . . .

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Kickoff Monday, Sep 20th 8:15pm Eastern

Lions (
18.75) at

Packers (
30.25)

Over/Under 49.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Lions Run D
31st DVOA/15th Yards allowed per carry
Packers Run O
24th DVOA/28th Yards per carry
Lions Pass D
5th DVOA/21st Yards allowed per pass
Packers Pass O
20th DVOA/27th Yards per pass
Packers Run D
25th DVOA/29th Yards allowed per carry
Lions Run O
4th DVOA/14th Yards per carry
Packers Pass D
26th DVOA/7th Yards allowed per pass
Lions Pass O
25th DVOA/12th Yards per pass

Xandamere’s Showdown Slant

Week 2 comes to a close as the Lions visit the Packers for a 48.5 total game with Green Bay favored by a whopping 11.5. The Detroit defense is pretty hapless, which we saw play out in week 1 against San Francisco. Their offense at least showed up in Week 1, whereas the Packers just looked completely lifeless on both sides of the ball. It’s just a one-game sample and we can see Vegas isn’t really taking anything away from it with how they’ve laid odds on this game.

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Green Bay

The first thing to note is our snap counts for the Packers are going to look a little wonky since they pulled their starters in the 4th quarter. Aaron Rodgers only played 74% of the snaps. Aaron Jones played 49%, Davante Adams 70%, Allen Lazard 68%, Marquez Valdes-Scantling 63%, and Robert Tonyan 49%. If you figure none of the starters really played much in the 4th, that tells us that the WR trio of Adams, Lazard, and MVS were basically full-time players while Jones and Tonyan were on pace for something like 65-70% of the snaps.

In the run game, we should expect to see Aaron Jones with the lion’s share of the work (get it? because they’re playing the Lions? ha, ha, ha). This matchup favors Jones and we saw him go absolutely nuclear against Detroit in Week 2 of last year (helped, of course, by Adams getting hurt midway through the game). His workload is not as secure as the very top tier of backs as Green Bay is still going to mix in AJ Dillon. But, as long as the Packers don’t get blown out again, he should have a path to at least 18 running back opportunities, including a solid passing game role, with upside for more. As a massive home favorite in a good rushing matchup with a 3rd down/passing game role, Jones checks almost every box, with the only one missing being “primary goal-line back.” That one we just don’t know at this point in the season (because the Packers haven’t gotten to the goal line). Dillon could be favored there in the classic “bigger back that comes in to vulture the touchdowns” role that has plagued so many top RBs – and DFS players – throughout the years. That’s just a minor note of caution, though, as Jones is a very strong play. Dillon’s a great play at just $3k as well and as massive home favorites I’d be comfortable rolling them out together. Rookie Kylin Hill saw the field in Week 1, but almost certainly only due to the blowout, as he didn’t see his first touch until Rodgers and the rest of the starters were pulled. You can include him as a deep MME punt play.

In the passing game, the most interesting takeaway from Week 1 is that Randall Cobb was not signed to resume his old full time slot receiver role as he played just 26% of the snaps and saw one target. It is possible that this changes (he was signed fairly close to the season, after all), but my guess is that at this point in his career, Green Bay views him as more of a capable veteran backup, though the role could grow if Lazard or MVS struggle. Davante Adams is, of course, the king of this offense. He’s a near-lock for double-digit targets every game and Rodgers looks his way in the red zone. I’d take Rodgers over Adams for floor, but it’s close, and Adams definitely has a higher ceiling. Nothing more to say about one of the best receivers in the NFL. In a dreamy matchup, MVS and Lazard are both also in play. It’s worth noting that MVS saw eight targets in Week 1, though he only caught three of them. They also weren’t pure deep passes, which is the role we mostly saw him in last year. After a hype-filled preseason, MVS is one of my favorite plays in this game for tournaments. We know he can take one to the house from anywhere, and if his route tree is going to be diversified, that just adds some floor to his already strong ceiling. My take here is Adams, MVS, and Lazard are the starters and I would rank their attractiveness in that order, with Cobb as the most involved backup. Amari Rodgers and Malik Taylor saw the field in the Week 1 blowout but are not likely to be very involved in competitive games and belong just as MME dart throws. At tight end, Robert Tonyan was on pace for a close to full-time role, something that largely eluded him in 2020 when he only exceeded 70% of the snaps once. He was on pace for a bit more than his 2020 average, which is a good sign for his fantasy utility. Keep in mind that a tremendous amount of Tonyan’s 2020 value came from A) his absolutely absurd catch rate (52 of 59 targets!) and B) 11 freaking touchdowns (tied for 5th in the league!). He got by on modest volume with absolutely unearthly efficiency, and over the course of the season, I would bet for that to regress if his volume doesn’t increase significantly. In a single-game sample, of course, he’s a pretty decent bet for a touchdown as he seems to sniff the end zone with amazing regularity. Marcedes Lewis is a blocking tight end who can be thrown in as a punt play (he did score three touchdowns last year).

Showdown Ownership Projections!

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Detroit

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On the Detroit side, we have a backfield split in which both running backs absolutely smashed in Week 1, with a whopping 20 passing targets between them (out of 57 dropbacks, thus 35% of Jared Goff’s noodly-armed throws went to his RBs). Volume should be pretty dependable for them in this offense as Goff seems completely incapable of throwing more than 10 yards downfield, which often leaves him looking at his running backs, tight ends, and slot receivers. Despite the nearly even count of running back opportunities with 22 for D’Andre Swift against 18 for Jamaal Williams, Swift played almost twice as many snaps, so Williams’ production could be viewed as something of a mirage. Based on how often he was on the field, Williams is overpriced for his likeliest range of outcomes, though he can still be considered in tournament play. Swift’s receiving role makes him effectively game script immune, and he is my favorite overall Detroit play on the board.

The Lions passing game is in a bit of chaos right now. Expected WR1 Tyrell Williams is out with a concussion. Kalif Raymond led the WR group in snaps in Week 1, but he popped up on the Saturday injury report, which is never a good sign. At the end of the day, I kind of lump all of the Detroit wide receivers together a bit, as these are mostly either kind of no-name guys or young guys who have yet to really make an impression on the league. The starting receiver trio is going to be some combination of Raymond, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Trinity Benson, Quintez Cephus, and perhaps Khadarel Hodge if Raymond is out. I don’t have a great way to separate them (and would be interested if any industrious reader does!). All of these guys are getting dumped into the player pool, of course, because they’re going to be on the field a lot, but it’s notable that in a Week 1 when Jared Goff attempted 57 passes, the “leading” wide receiver was Quintez Cephus with a line of 3/12/1 on six targets. I would guess that St. Brown is the most talented of the group, but receiver talent only matters so much if your quarterback doesn’t throw to you. They’re all viable in tournaments. I don’t really want to trust any of them in cash games, but if you want to use the Rodgers/Adams/Jones trio, you’re going to need some value. If that’s the route you go in cash I think you can plug in whoever fits and hope for the best. Good luck sorting this mess out. But wait, I’m missing the actual top receiver in the Lions offense, which is tight end T.J. Hockenson. A monster week 1 has led to him being priced where we’re used to only seeing the league’s very top tight ends, but perhaps with Goff targeting him so heavily, this is his year to join those ranks. He certainly looked the part against San Francisco and is a premium play in this one who I actually expect will get somewhat modest ownership, as the field is likely to prioritize the three main Packers. He’s a great play, and you can throw his fellow tight end Darren Fells into your punt player pool as well.

Outlook

The way this game is likely to play out is for the Packers to come out with a vengeance and smash the hapless Lions. Detroit just doesn’t have anything that can stop the Green Bay offense when it’s firing on all cylinders, and Goff can’t keep up in a shootout. Green Bay should be able to attack how they want to in this one, and after an absolutely embarrassing Week 1 defeat, look for them to try and get back on track with a convincing win. Or, at least, that’s how it SHOULD play out, but there are always some other options…

  • The most likely tributary is for the Lions to fail to hit their modest team total as a furious Packers team absolutely trounces them. This would, of course, make Green Bay onslaught lineups entirely viable.
  • But wait….what if the Packers offense, for whatever reason, just isn’t as good as it was last season? Rodgers is a year older, maybe he’s pissed at the team for the contract/draft situation…who knows. This is awfully unlikely (and don’t tell my boss at my day job I said this, because she’s a HUGE Packers fan), but maybe the Packers fall flat yet again, just as they did in Week 1. I don’t see a complete stomping as a realistic outcome, as the Lions defense is a far cry from the Saints, but what if something is fundamentally broken in the Green Bay offense right now?
  • Alternately, what if the Packers offense does just fine, but Goff CAN keep up? After all, the Lions put up 33 against San Francisco last week. He got it done on dinks and dunks, but Goff led them on successful drive after successful drive despite a pick-six. Could we potentially see a shootout here?
Cash Games

I’m still debating my cash game pool. Rodgers is obviously at the top of it, but I have to decide if I want to play both QBs (as I normally try to do) or go heavy on the Green Bay side with Jones and Adams. I’m leaning towards the latter. Also in the pool are Swift, Dillon, Crosby, and then perhaps a cheap Lion receiver – basically whichever fits the build is “fine.”

Tournaments

In tournaments, my favorite captains are, perhaps unsurprisingly, Adams and Jones, with Swift, Hockenson, and MVS also in strong consideration.

Some groups to consider
  • At most 1 kicker
  • At most 1 defense
  • Pair captain pass catchers with their QBs (or consider boosting the QB if using a captain receiver if you don’t want 100% exposure to this pairing – discussed in further detail in the 2020 update to my Advanced Showdowns course)
  • If using an RB captain, apply a negative correlation to the opposing defense and kicker (you can see how to do so in my FantasyLabs tutorial video)
  • Pair captain QBs with at least 2 pass catchers
  • At most 2 Lions wide receivers (and I wouldn’t really argue if you used at most 1 here, as wide receivers are not the best way to attack the Packers and that isn’t where the talent of the Detroit offense lies)
  • At most 2 of MVS, Lazard, and Cobb

By LexMiraglia10 >>

Aaron Rodgers:

  • DET allowed the 2nd most QB DK pts/g in 2020 (25.4)
  • DET allowed 314 yds, TD to Jimmy G in W1 and lost a starting CB for the season
  • Rodgers vs DET 2020: 240:2 // 290:3, rush TD
  • DET had the 2nd fewest QB pressures with just 3 in W1

Davante Adams:

  • Adams received 9+ targets in 14/16 total games last year, with the two short being an injury-shortened game and the other a Week 17 blowout
  • Adams received 7 targets in a W1 blowout loss vs Lattimore’s Saints in which the starters were pulled from the game early
  • In first two years with Lafleur, Adams has turned 10.6 tg/g into 91.2 yds/g
  • Adams caught 20 TDs in his 16 games last year
  • DET allowed the 3rd most WR DK pts in 2020
  • DET was just eviscerated by Deebo Samuel in W1 for 9:189:1 (12)
  • Adams vs DET 2020: 3:36 (left early) // 7:115:1

Marquez Valdez-Scantling:

  • In three career seasons, MVS has five 100-yd games and five games of 5+ rec
  • MVS best scores by season: 16.1, 16.3, 19.8 // 21.9, 24.3 // 17.1, 19.3, 19.6, 20.5, 27.9
  • MVS tied Davante with 7 targets in W1
  • MVS vs DET 2020: 3:64 (7) // 6:85:1 (6)
  • A lot of Deebo’s big W1 came on a deep TD

Aaron Jones:

  • DET allowed the 2nd most DK pts to RBs in 2020 behind the most RB rec TDs, 2nd most RB rec yds, & 5th most RB rush yds
  • Aaron Jones took advantage of this weak 2020 DET RB defense to the tune of 18 att for 168 yds, 2 TD & 4 rec for 68 yds, TD in the first matchup // 15:69, 2:6 in the second
  • In W1, DET allowed 127 rush yds, 2 TD on 22 att to SF RBs & 22 more yds through the air
  • Jones played 74% of the snaps through the first 3 quarters of the W1 blowout loss in a brutal RB matchup

Jared Goff:

  • GB allowed the 3rd fewest QB DK pts in 2020, but did switch to new DC Joe Barry
  • Barry’s 4 previous defenses allowed the 2nd, 6th, 8th, & 8th most pass yds; only one finished top 20 in pass TDs allowed
  • GB’s pass D allowed 5 TDs to Jameis on just 20 pass att in W1
  • Goff turned a blowout vs SF into a game late behind 338 yds, 3 TD
  • Goff’s protection actually improved from the preseason thanks to Penei Sewell being forced to play LT (his natural position); GB’s star pass rusher Zadarius Smith is on IR

DET WRs:

  • #1 WR Tyrell Williams left with a concussion before the passing game really got going in W1, and will remain out for W2, leaving Cephus, Raymond, Benson, St Brown (slot) as the four main DET WRs
  • Those four combined for 21 targets in W1, with no one surpassing 50 yds
  • GB allowed the 4th fewest WR DK pts in 2020 and drafted another 1st-rd CB
  • Other than a deep shot to Harris, most of NOR’s production vs GB flowed through the TEs and the ground game
  • The leading WR yds in two DET games vs GB in 2020 were 54 (Cephus) & 66 (Amendola)

TJ Hockenson:

  • Hockenson is DET’s #1 with the most routes run & a 20% target share
  • Hock finished with 8:97:1 in a tough matchup vs SF
  • GB just allowed 2 TDs on 6 rec to Johnson & Trautman in W1
  • Hock vs GB in 2020: 4:62 // 6:43:1

DET RBs:

  • GB allowed the 5th most RB DK pts in 2020, with only KC & DET allowing more RB rec yds
  • GB allowed 133 rush yds on 31 att to NOR RBs in W1 (+ a rec TD)
  • DET RBs (albeit in heavy comeback mode) each received 8 targets in W1, going for a combined 121 yds, TD through the air
  • Swift led in carries 11 to 9, but was outgained by 15 rushing yds
  • Swift played 68% snaps to Williams 35%