Vikings Run D27th DVOA/18th Yards allowed per carry
Eagles Run O3rd DVOA/5th Yards per carry
Vikings Pass D12th DVOA/10th Yards allowed per pass
Eagles Pass O23rd DVOA/27th Yards per pass
Eagles Run D4th DVOA/7th Yards allowed per carry
Vikings Run O30th DVOA/30th Yards per carry
Eagles Pass D18th DVOA/18th Yards allowed per pass
Vikings Pass O10th DVOA/9th Yards per pass
XANDAMERE’S SHOWDOWN SLANT
Week 2 begins with the Vikings visiting the Eagles and this should be a fun one, with both teams packing strong offenses (despite what we saw in Week 1). The game currently has a healthy 48.5 total with Philly favored by 7, and broadly speaking that feels right to me. Both teams have good offenses, Minnesota has made some defensive upgrades but looks “decent” rather than “great,” while the Eagles defense is probably a top 5 unit in the league.
We’ll start with the Eagles where the surprise (at least to me) was Kenneth Gainwell operating as the RB1. Gainwell played 62% of the snaps and handled 18 touches (including four targets), while recently arrived D’Andre Swift played just 29% of the snaps with three touches (two targets). The Eagles other recent acquisition, Rashaad Penny, was a healthy scratch, leaving Boston Scott in his normal RB3 role. I’m confused as hell by this. I don’t understand why the Eagles would acquire Swift and Penny just to not use them, but I’m not an NFL coach. What I will say is that the cautious approach is to play Gainwell as the RB1, as that’s what we’ve seen from the Eagles, but just recognize we only have one week of data and there could have been something opponent specific as to why they preferred Gainwell in that matchup, or possibly Swift had a minor injury that wasn’t on the injury report, or even some disciplinary reason. Who knows. The point is, when we only have one week’s worth of data, we don’t want to overreact and assume that player usage for the rest of the season will follow what happened in Week 1. So, Gainwell is the “safe” play (home favorite RB, passing game role, high team total, etc.). Eagles head coach Nick Siranni did note that he “didn’t ever want to come out of a game where D’Andre Swift has only two touches,” so we could bet on roles flipping (or at least production flipping). I view Gainwell as the conservative play, Swift as the more volatile play, and Scott as a dart throw (assuming Penny is inactive again – if Penny is active he can join the dart throw category and I would rank him above Scott for dart throw attractiveness). I’m going to let ownership dictate my strategy here. If Swift projects to be significantly overlooked, I will want an overweight position.
Injury update: Kenneth Gainwell was ruled out on Wednesday
- I expect Rashaad Penny will be active after being a healthy scratch last week, giving Philly a backfield of Swift, Penny, and Boston Scott.
- This is a tough one to suss out. Penny best fits the physical profile of a between-the-tackles two-down grinder but the Eagles disliked him so much that they didn’t even play him in Week 1, so it’s hard for me to see them suddenly giving him 15+ carries (which is weird because Penny has always been good when healthy so maybe they surprise me here).
- They seem to view Swift similarly to how the Lions did, as a low-touch, explosive upside kind of guy. He’ll certainly see more touches than he did last week (which would have been the case regardless of Gainwell), but he’s probably like a 10-12 touch guy.
- Scott probably stays in the same RB3 role, but there’s volatility here . . . he could play ahead of Penny. We just don’t really know.
- The other issue is that all three of these guys are wildly cheap, with Swift the most expensive at $4k. I don’t think any of them are likely to get enough volume to have much chance of being optimal without a touchdown (Swift a possible exception if he gets 3-4 targets) and I’d be wary of having too much exposure to these cheap, super obvious value plays.
- Swift’s my favorite, then Penny, then Scott, but I want to limit how much Penny and Scott I have paired together on the same roster because their workloads are clearly inversely correlated, whereas Swift will get some work no matter what.
- Finally, I think the biggest impact is that Philly is now likely to attack more through the air. Against the Vikings’ blitz-happy defense, I think the biggest boost here is to the aerial game, with my favorite play being A.J. Brown against what should be a lot of loose Cover 1 defense.
Ownership updates automatically
In the passing game, the Eagles do us the favor of being one of the more condensed passing offenses in the league (not one of those “all 6 WRs get snaps!” teams like the Chiefs). Devonta Smith, A.J. Brown, and Quez Watkins are the WRs, Dallas Goedert is the TE, and the backups barely play. Watkins also barely gets any volume (two targets in Week 1, 51 targets in 16 games last year for an average of just over three per game), so we can immediately move him to the dart throw category, leaving us just three real pass catchers for serious consideration. Brown and Smith are very similar. Last year, Brown had slightly more target volume (10 targets over the course of the season), but higher yards per catch led to 300 more total yards (and three more touchdowns), but AJB is also $1,600 more expensive than Smith. They’re both great plays with AJB the slight favorite if salary weren’t a factor. Dallas Goedert goose-egged in Week 1 with just one target (yikes), but that caused his price to drop to $5,800 . . . that’s too cheap for Goedert, and I expect to see him as one of the most popular plays on the slate. Also working in Goedert’s favor is his lower-ADOT role, which against Minnesota’s new-look more aggressive defense, could lead to additional target volume if the pass rush is able to get to Hurts. He’s a very strong on-paper play, and he could get some squeaky wheel narrative after being ignored last week, but if his ownership starts pushing into the 50% range, that personally makes me nervous (any TE not named Travis Kelce at 50% ownership is scary in Showdown). Olamide Zaccheaus, Jack Stoll, and Grant Calcaterra were the only other WR/TEs to see offensive snaps in Week 1 and can be considered as MME punt options.
Packers Run D18th DVOA/24th Yards allowed per carry
Falcons Run O5th DVOA/8th Yards per carry
Packers Pass D11th DVOA/17th Yards allowed per pass
Falcons Pass O22nd DVOA/15th Yards per pass
Falcons Run D11th DVOA/23rd Yards allowed per carry
Packers Run O27th DVOA/26th Yards per carry
Falcons Pass D20th DVOA/7th Yards allowed per pass
Packers Pass O2nd DVOA/2nd Yards per pass
Game Overview ::
By mike johnson >>
- Both of these teams started their seasons with strong divisional wins, but still have a lot to prove in terms of their viability as contenders.
- This game will require efficiency if it is going to have much scoring, as both teams play at a very slow pace.
- Aaron Jones and Christian Watson’s hamstring injuries loom large over the potential for the Packers offense.
- Desmond Ridder has more receptions than Drake London this season.
- The Falcons offensive philosophy naturally attacks the “weakest” part of the Packers defense – in the running game.
- From a usage perspective, we should expect the Falcons running backs to hog the ball and the Packers passing game to be very spread out.
How green bay Will Try To Win ::
How will the Packers play without Aaron Rodgers? That was the biggest question for this team entering Week 1. Playing without star wide receiver Christian Watson, the Packers were predictably balanced and leaned heavily on their running backs. Excluding their drive in the final two minutes of the first half, the Packers offense had a 52.5% pass rate through three quarters (21 pass plays and 19 rush attempts). That number would have ranked outside the top 20 in the league for the 2022 NFL season. This week Watson and running back Aaron Jones missed practice both Wednesday and Thursday, leaving their statuses for Sunday’s matchup with the Falcons in doubt.
Watson and Jones are both battling hamstring injuries, which are notoriously difficult to predict and one of the more commonly aggravated injuries you can have. Given the explosive nature of both players and how key they are to the team’s long-term aspirations, it would make sense that the Packers would take a conservative approach here, which is why I am working under the assumption that these two will not be available this week or will be very limited if they are active. So what next? AJ Dillon will work as a true feature back, with Patrick Taylor mixing in for spot work and breathers. Taylor actually got some work late in last week’s blowout of the Bears, but there is a big gap between him and Dillon, which is why Dillon should be viewed as the feature back. In the passing game, Romeo Doubs got all the accolades from Week 1 because of his two touchdown receptions, but this was a pretty balanced attack as seven players had more than one target, but no one had more than five. While it was only one week, Jordan Love had the 5th highest average intended air yards in the NFL, as the Packers showed a willingness to let him be aggressive. Granted, this was against a Bears defense that looked like it still has a long way to go to be competitive, but the signs were encouraging for Love and not just because of the three touchdown passes.
This week, the Packers are playing an Atlanta team whose defense performed very well in Week 1, albeit against a work-in-progress Carolina offense. The Packers are coming off a very good performance and are likely going to be without their top-2 offensive weapons, which means that they are unlikely to shake things up from their balanced approach in this spot. They will rely on their defense to keep them in it and control the clock and possession. Given the nature of Atlanta’s approach, we should expect a healthy dose of AJ Dillon this week and Green Bay to once again have a very broad distribution of targets. Tight end Luke Musgrave led the Packers skill players in snaps in Week 1 and could have the best on-paper matchup this week after the Falcons gave up a good game to Hayden Hurst in Week 1. The Falcons blitzed on less than 20% of their defensive snaps in Week 1 (the 6th-lowest rate in the league), which should allow Love time to continue pushing the ball downfield and also allow Musgrave to be out running routes rather than staying in to chip blitzers.
How Atlanta Will Try To Win ::
Ravens Run D9th DVOA/12th Yards allowed per carry
Bengals Run O19th DVOA/29th Yards per carry
Ravens Pass D7th DVOA/5th Yards allowed per pass
Bengals Pass O27th DVOA/16th Yards per pass
Bengals Run D28th DVOA/9th Yards allowed per carry
Ravens Run O6th DVOA/16th Yards per carry
Bengals Pass D25th DVOA/29th Yards allowed per pass
Ravens Pass O5th DVOA/16th Yards per pass
Game Overview ::
By hilow >>
- JK Dobbins was lost for the season in Week 1 after suffering a torn Achilles.
- Mark Andrews got in a limited session on Wednesday and is tentatively expected to return from his one-game absence due to a quad injury.
- The Ravens had two starting offensive linemen miss practice entirely on Wednesday, which is a situation to monitor during the coming days.
- The Bengals are fresh off an absolute dismantling at the hands of the Browns. I would expect this team to come out firing in an attempt to right the ship.
- Tee Higgins in Week 1: 150 air yards, eight targets, zero catches.
- Baltimore’s defense uses inflated rates of zone coverages under coordinator Mike Macdonald, which doesn’t necessarily narrow down the expected path for Bengals targets to flow.
How Baltimore Will Try To Win ::
We thought we had a good idea of how the Ravens were going to try and win games this season – spoiler alert, their Week 1 game went nothing like we thought we were going to see. To be fair, tight end Mark Andrews missed that contest with a quad injury, meaning we could see this offense morph once again in Week 2. Andrews got in a limited practice on Wednesday while the team was without center Tyler Linderbaum and left tackle Ronnie Stanley, each of whom did not practice. The respective statuses of the offensive linemen are worth monitoring throughout the remainder of the week as Sunday approaches as their absences would be yet another nudge in the direction of increased pass game utilization. Summing up the state of this team right now – we have a new (and expected to be aggressive) offensive coordinator in Todd Monken, two missing offensive linemen (as of now), an alpha tight end expected to return, and a backfield that currently consists of journeyman mediocrity in Justice Hill, Gus Edwards, and potentially Melvin Gordon. I say all that to somewhat lead the horse to water, but this offense still ran 21-personnel an insane 44 percent of the time in Week 1 (albeit in a positive game script and without their alpha pass-catcher). More on this below.
We spoke to the continued usage of fullback Patrick Ricard above, which we shouldn’t be overly shocked to see but at the same time were quietly hoping got nerfed under new tutelage. Where the team goes with their offensive alignments without their top rusher, and while getting their top pass-catcher back, remains to be seen but we saw an offense built around 21- and 11-personnel in Week 1. I would loosely expect that trend to continue. The backfield is now in the questionably capable hands of Justice Hill, Gus Edwards, and potentially Melvin Gordon after the injury to JK Dobbins. We know who these backs are at this point in their respective careers. I would expect Edwards to be the primary short-yardage and early-down back, Hill to be the change of pace and passing down entity, and Gordon to mix in to some extent as a secondary change-of-pace option. The Bengals are fresh off an opening weekend dismantling at the hands of the Cleveland Browns, a game where multiple players set career lows in counting stats. They did cede 5.2 yards per carry to Cleveland backs, but this is Nick Chubb behind one of the top offensive lines in the league we’re talking about.
The snap rates amongst Baltimore pass-catchers in Week 1 were not exactly as we expected entering the season. Veteran wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr led the way with a massive 92 percent snap rate share, followed by rookie first-rounder Zay Flowers at 84 percent, tight end Isaiah Likely at 72 percent, and a shared downfield role between former first-rounder Rashod Bateman and journeyman deep wide receiver Nelson Agholor (39 percent and 38 percent, respectively). The modest 11-personnel rates were influenced by the continued usage of Ricard, as was discussed above. That 21-personnel usage is interesting to dissect as it could equate to a relatively consistent slot snap rate from tight end Mark Andrews, assuming Ricard now becomes more of an additional blocker out of the backfield – or the team could shift to heavier rates of 11-personnel in a more formidable matchup, I dunno. But that’s exactly what this side of the game brings, a massively wide range of potential outcomes as far as how we expect them to approach this spot. One last word on the Ravens – Zay Flowers is the absolute truth and gives off some serious alpha vibes.
How cincinnati Will Try To Win ::
Seahawks Run D10th DVOA/3rd Yards allowed per carry
Lions Run O14th DVOA/21st Yards per carry
Seahawks Pass D31st DVOA/30th Yards allowed per pass
Lions Pass O3rd DVOA/4th Yards per pass
Lions Run D13th DVOA/11th Yards allowed per carry
Seahawks Run O18th DVOA/20th Yards per carry
Lions Pass D27th DVOA/24th Yards allowed per pass
Seahawks Pass O6th DVOA/25th Yards per pass
Game Overview ::
By HILOW >>
- Detroit inexplicably played “zero upside Josh (Reynolds)” and “dinosaur-bones (Marvin) Jones” over the field-stretcher they so desperately need on this offense in Kalif Raymond (in lieu of Jameson Williams) in Week 1 against the Chiefs.
- Both of these defenses have improved dramatically since the last time these two teams met in Week 4 of 2022 – a game that broke the slate with 93 combined points.
- Those improvements start in the linebacking corps of each team, which is a staple in the standard 3-4, Tampa-2 base for the Seahawks under Pete Carroll and should help the Lions perform better against the run this season (Jack Campbell is an athletic monster-freak).
- This game total opened at 50.5 and has already (on Wednesday night) been bet down to 47.5 after bouncing off 47.0 – notable, for sure.
- It is highly likely both teams are looking to control this game on the ground, which saps a lot of the upside from the expected game environment.
How seattle Will Try To Win ::
The Seahawks are a team built around their Tampa-2, outside-in, 3-4 defense and the run game. The pass game is simply a product of the successes from those two areas. Even with the selection of Jaxon Smith-Njigba in the first round, offensive coordinator Shane Waldron carried over the same offensive design into 2023 that includes increased rates of 12-personnel. We did get a glimmer of hope in the team’s moderate pace (16th in situation-neutral pace of play and 11th in seconds per play) and 10th-ranked pass rate over expectation in Week 1, but the overall design of the offense appeared extremely similar to what we have seen in the past (which is not necessarily good considering the talent of JSN). Furthermore, the Seahawks are largely a team that looks to win on the ground unless otherwise sparked, meaning typically the only way they provide the spark to game environments is via explosive runs early. The last time these two teams met (Week 4 2022), Seattle surged to a commanding 31-15 lead after an interception returned for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage of the second half. Rashaad Penny erupted for 36- and 41-yard touchdowns from that point forward and the Lions did their best “oh shit, it’s catch-up time” through TJ Hockenson (Amon-Ra missed that game). What was most troubling to see from the Seahawks in Week 1 was that quarterback Geno Smith “boasted” a 4.9 average intended air yards on an offense that has DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and now Smith-Njigba – AGAINST THE RAMS. Geno had all of 42 completed air yards in that game. His completed air yards per pass attempt was higher than just Joe Burrow (lolz), Daniel Jones (oof), and Bryce Young (okay, this makes sense). That leaves a rather massive question for us this week – can Waldron integrate the dynamism they have through the air to make it so the offense isn’t overly reliant on the success of the run game?
The Seahawks managed a solid 4.7 yards per carry against the Rams in Week 1 (Kenneth Walker was responsible for a solid 5.3 yards per carry) but only saw 18 total carries and a laughable 51 offensive plays – AGAINST THE RAMS. Carroll and Waldron let the game completely come to them after taking a 13-7 lead into half. Their second-half drives consisted of three three-and-outs and one drive where they picked up a first down via penalty. Through that ineptitude, Walker saw only three second-half carries and two second-half targets, meaning his nine first-half carries and three first-half targets tell the larger story of what to expect in a more neutral situation. Also, Walker operated as the true lead back, garnering a solid 63 percent snap rate compared to 24 percent for rookie Zach Charbonnet and 22 percent for DeeJay Dallas, the latter of whom saw work exclusively in the two-minute drill and obvious passing downs. If I know Carroll and Waldron (I think I do?), I’d guess we’re likely to see this team try to get back to its roots, which involves a game plan built around the run with passing layered in off of that. The matchup on the ground should be considered largely neutral after the Lions held Kansas City backs to 3.9 yards per carry in Week 1 (but we know the Chiefs aren’t going to be this insanely good rushing team this year consider it’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Isiah Pacheco leading the charge).
It appears as if this pass game is going to be your run-of-the-mill, 60-65 percent 11-personnel, 20-25 percent 12-personnel shell. Metcalf played almost every offensive snap in Week 1 and Lockett was on his way to doing the same until he was removed to be evaluated for a concussion (he would gain clearance and return). Smith-Njigba settled into the true slot-from-11-personnel tool in this offense, which has to be frustrating to those that sunk significant draft capital into him in Best Ball. That change also kicked Lockett into heavier perimeter snaps, which we expected entering the season. It’s not as if Lockett can’t play on the perimeter, but 112 of his 224 targets over the previous two seasons came with him aligned in the slot (405 of his total 1,666 offensive snaps came from the slot during those two seasons, meaning he saw 50 percent of his targets on just 24.3 percent of his total snap share from the slot over the previous two seasons). That could be damaging to his weekly upside. Surprisingly enough, Metcalf ran the same percentage of snaps from the slot in Week 1 when compared to Lockett (50 percent). Tight ends Noah Fant, Colby Parkinson, and Will Dissly all operated with snap rates between 31 percent and 49 percent and are not viable weekly plays.
HOW DETROIT WILL TRY TO WIN ::
Colts Run D8th DVOA/1st Yards allowed per carry
Texans Run O31st DVOA/32nd Yards per carry
Colts Pass D14th DVOA/27th Yards allowed per pass
Texans Pass O24th DVOA/19th Yards per pass
Texans Run D32nd DVOA/20th Yards allowed per carry
Colts Run O13th DVOA/19th Yards per carry
Texans Pass D19th DVOA/11th Yards allowed per pass
Colts Pass O19th DVOA/21st Yards per pass
Game Overview ::
By hilow >>
- Surprisingly, both the Colts and Texans ran uptempo offenses in Week 1, ranking third and fourth in seconds per play, respectively.
- Houston ceded just 3.4 yards per carry and held the Ravens to 5.4 intended air yards per pass attempt.
- Indianapolis had two starting offensive linemen listed as “DNP” on Wednesday’s practice report.
- Zack Moss was a full participant in practice Wednesday and is likely to overtake the lead role in the backfield from Deon Jackson.
- The Texans are extremely thin along the offensive line.
- Nico Collins led the league in percentage of team air yards in Week 1 (64 percent) and saw 11 targets.
- Dameon Pierce was not the unquestioned lead, borderline workhorse back we saw in the preseason.
How indianapolis Will Try To Win ::
The Colts gave us a solid glimpse into what their offense is expected to look like in Week 1, ranking third in seconds per play at 22.9 (remember, they ran the fastest offense in the league during the preseason), ranking seventh in total pass volume at 39 pass attempts, and finishing 26th in intended air yards per pass attempt (this is a departure from what we largely saw in the preseason). Mega-athletic quarterback Anthony Richardson accounted for 10 of the team’s 26 rush attempts, and Michael Pittman garnered an elite 29.7 percent team target market share (11 targets on 39 team pass attempts). Richardson was forced from the game late in the fourth quarter with a knee injury following a red zone rush attempt, which would fundamentally alter how we expect Shane Steichen and company to approach the game plan for this one. That said, Richardson wasn’t even listed on the team’s initial injury report this week, confirming reports out of Indianapolis that he was simply dealing with a bruised knee. The fantasy community breathes a collective sigh of relief because Richardson is one of the most intriguing players to step foot on a football field this year.
The run game got both good and bad news this week as rookie Evan Hull hit injured reserve, Zack Moss was a full participant in practice Wednesday, and guard Quentin Nelson and tackle Braden Smith both missed practice Wednesday. As things currently stand, I expect Moss to return from a broken arm suffered in the preseason to reclaim the lead role, while the two offensive linemen are situations worth monitoring considering the Colts boast a top-10 unit on paper. Either way, the matchup should be considered a strength-on-strength matchup after the Texans held the Ravens to just 3.4 yards per carry in Week 1. The fantasy points against numbers will not look pretty after the Texans ceded three rushing scores against, but those scores came from four yards, two yards, and two yards out. In other words, I don’t expect the Colts, considering the offensive minds behind the design of their offense, to lean on the ground game in this matchup. The obvious exception to that assertion is via the legs of Richardson, who should see a floor of eight to 12 carries in a standard week, with an upside for much more.
The heavy zone rates and moderate blitz rates from the Texans predictably led to a low defensive aDOT against in their Week 1 game against the Ravens (5.4, sixth shallowest in the league), which should be the case again here after the Colts were fine attacking the short-to-intermediate areas of the field in Week 1. Indianapolis ran an offense based primarily from 11-personnel in Week 1, with Michael Pittman and Alec Pierce operating as nearly every-down wide receivers, Josh Downs operating as the primary slot weapon with a healthy 79 percent snap rate, and sprinkles of 12-personnel mixed in with Kylen Granson operating as the primary tight end (61 percent snap rate, Mo Alie-Cox the “starter” and the best all-around tight end left on the roster (42 percent snap rate), and Drew Ogletree mixing in for heavy alignments (21 percent snap rate). This looks like another game where the Colts will be fine running an uptempo offense focused on the athleticism of Richardson and the intermediate abilities of Michael Pittman.
How houston Will Try To Win ::
Chiefs Run D19th DVOA/13th Yards allowed per carry
Jaguars Run O25th DVOA/25th Yards per carry
Chiefs Pass D16th DVOA/20th Yards allowed per pass
Jaguars Pass O21st DVOA/18th Yards per pass
Jaguars Run D5th DVOA/8th Yards allowed per carry
Chiefs Run O24th DVOA/13th Yards per carry
Jaguars Pass D15th DVOA/16th Yards allowed per pass
Chiefs Pass O7th DVOA/10th Yards per pass
Game Overview ::
By hilow >>
- Center Luke Fortner and right guard Brandon Scherff did not practice Wednesday for the Jaguars.
- Tight end Travis Kelce returned to a limited session Wednesday and appears on track to play in Week 2 – the Chiefs did the right thing by holding him out in Week 1 to give him an extra week and a half to recover from his hyperextended knee.
- Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire missed practice Wednesday with an illness – he should be good to go come Sunday, enough to take the first two carries of the game and then disappear into irrelevance, probably.
- Chris Jones returns to the Chiefs after missing Week 1 while disputing his contract.
- There are two very clear likeliest paths to eruption for this game environment, without which the game is likely to land near its median projection (currently installed with a game total of 51.0 and a relatively tight spread at Chiefs -3.5).
How kansas city Will Try To Win ::
Kansas City largely hasn’t changed how it tries to win over the previous four seasons, giving us a fairly accurate expectation each time they play. That said, we should expect Kelce to make his triumphant return to the lineup this week after hyperextending his knee two days before the team played its opening game on Thursday Night Football against the Lions. Unshockingly, the Chiefs left Week 1 with the highest pass rate over expectation (PROE) value of all 32 teams, a top-10 situation neutral pace of play (ninth), and the eighth-fastest seconds per play value. The Chiefs will look to pass, mix up their situational play-calling tendencies to keep their opponents on their heels, target all areas of the field, and mix and match their pass-catchers not named Travis Kelce. That sets up an interesting matchup with a Jacksonville defense that is both fast and young. Opposing defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell is of the Todd Bowles coaching tree, typically running a 3-4 base with heavy blitz rates and a focus on stopping the run. Jacksonville blitzed at a 36.4 percent clip in Week 1 against the Colts (the Buccaneers were one of only four teams to blitz at a higher rate – Todd Bowles) and surrendered just 2.5 yards per carry (the Buccaneers were one of four teams to allow a lower yards per carry in Week 1 – Todd Bowles), each confirming our previous assumptions. Knowing Andy Reid, that should mean more designed ball-out-quick tendencies over the middle of the field here, with designed shots downfield strewn throughout the offensive design.
The Chiefs backfield was a veritable disaster in Week 1, at least for fantasy purposes. Clyde Edwards-Helaire “started” the game, took the first two carries, and then saw just six more carries throughout the remainder of the game. He finished with a 22 percent snap rate. Presumed lead rusher Isiah Pacheco finished with eight carries and four targets on 48 percent of the offensive snaps. Change-of-pace extraordinaire/typical passing down back Jerick McKinnon finished with zero carries and just two targets on 31 percent of the offensive snaps. If ever there were a game to expect a bump to the already high pass rates for the Chiefs, this would be it. Not much else going on here.
While the backs rotated through at a maddening rate, the wide receivers might have been more extreme. All seven active wide receivers saw snaps for the Chiefs in Week 1, led by Skyy Moore (69 percent) and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (63 percent). Richie James (35 percent), Rashee Rice (31 percent), Justin Watson (29 percent), Kadarius Toney (25 percent), and even Justyn Ross (nine percent) all saw snaps behind the two “starters.” At tight end, Noah Gray made a play at his best Kelce impression, playing on 88 percent of the offensive snaps and routinely serving as Patrick Mahomes’ outlet underneath. Blake Bell played a standard-for-him 40 percent of the offensive snaps to up the team’s 12-personnel usage. With Kelce set to return, it is likely he is the lone near-every-down player in this offense moving forward. It is worth mentioning (or worth re-emphasizing) just how poorly Toney played, dropping multiple passes and looking lost and disinterested last Thursday. One of those drops resulted in a pick-six to open the third quarter. Not good, Bob, not good. MVS should continue to be near the team lead in snaps as the “safety manipulator” in this offense, while Moore should continue in a similar role after separating from the crowd in camp, but neither of these roles is likely to provide any semblance of elevated median projection considering the relatively low snap rates. But again, this team is going to pass, and pass often, leaving some (albeit slim) paths to GPP goodness (maybe just for MME for the time being). Based on the aforementioned defensive tendencies from the Jaguars, this sets up a “a Kelce game.”
How jacksonville Will Try To Win ::
Bears Run D15th DVOA/5th Yards allowed per carry
Buccaneers Run O21st DVOA/29th Yards per carry
Bears Pass D30th DVOA/31st Yards allowed per pass
Buccaneers Pass O16th DVOA/11th Yards per pass
Buccaneers Run D13th DVOA/12th Yards allowed per carry
Bears Run O23rd DVOA/14th Yards per carry
Buccaneers Pass D15th DVOA/6th Yards allowed per pass
Bears Pass O29th DVOA/22nd Yards per pass
Game Overview ::
By papy324 >>
- This isn’t a great game environment for DFS but it does have high upside outcomes.
- DJ Moore was criminally underused last week and should see some schemed targets.
- Mike Evans looks like he can succeed with Baker Mayfield at QB.
- Rachaad White saw elite usage for his price.
How Chicago Will Try To Win ::
The Bears are fresh off a 38-20 loss at home to division rival GB who many were expecting to have a rebuilding year after Aaron Rodgers left town. Expectations for the Bears were sky-high after a strong preseason performance and the addition of new offensive weapons. Everyone might have confused Justin Fields’ fantasy football success with real-life football success, but yeah, what is the difference between those again? The Bears left many wanting more in their home opener, and a lot of questions are now being asked about the future of the organization. This is as close to a must win for a coaching staff as you can have in Week 2.
Matt “Can I get a clue?” Eberflus returned because of Justin Fields “development” towards the end of the year. I say development sarcastically because I’m fairly certain that even the Bears coaching staff confused fantasy football glory with real life success. Did Justin Fields demonstrate he is incredibly talented as a runner? Absolutely. Did he show that he is an NFL talent as a passer? Never. Someone should give Eberflus a clue that yards count the same if you run or pass for them in the NFL. Rushing yards only count for more in our game. The Buccaneers defense was decidedly average in Week 1, with a mediocre showing against the run and pass. Eberflus is more of a “we do our thing” coach than an adaptable one anyway which makes him easier to predict (for us and opposing teams). The Bears had a pass run split of 37/29 (nine of those runs were by Fields), and in a game they lost by three scores. It looks like they still want to lean into the run and short passing game as much as possible. Expect the Bears to try and get the running game working, but expect them to be willing to go into a pass heavy “let Fields win or lose it” game plan if they fall behind.
How tampa bay Will Try To Win ::
Chargers Run D25th DVOA/15th Yards allowed per carry
Titans Run O8th DVOA/11th Yards per carry
Chargers Pass D32nd DVOA/32nd Yards allowed per pass
Titans Pass O28th DVOA/8th Yards per pass
Titans Run D2nd DVOA/2nd Yards allowed per carry
Chargers Run O4th DVOA/7th Yards per carry
Titans Pass D23rd DVOA/28th Yards allowed per pass
Chargers Pass O11th DVOA/14th Yards per pass
Game Overview ::
By hilow >>
- Joey Bosa, Austin Ekeler, and Eric Kendricks all missed practice Wednesday. Ekeler and Kendricks both carried NIR (not injury related) designations alongside their respective ankle and hamstring injuries, introducing some speculation and uncertainty surrounding their respective statuses for Sunday.
- I get the feeling the field and industry might put too much weight into how the Chargers chose to attack in Week 1 – I’d be extremely interested to see the reaction to this team should Austin Ekeler practice Thursday.
- I also get the feeling the field and industry might put too much weight into how the Titans managed their offense in Week 1 – I’d be extremely interested to see the reaction to this team throughout the week.
- Both teams have a very clear path of least resistance – the Titans on the ground and the Chargers through the air.
- The Titans are likely looking to slow this game down while the Chargers are likeliest to want to speed things up.
- DeAndre Hopkins missed practice Wednesday with an ankle injury – water is wet and ice is cold.
How los Angeles Will Try To Win ::
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the collective fantasy community is likely going to be spewing some (incorrect – maybe) hot takes this week regarding Kellen Moore and these Chargers. On the surface, it appears as if Moore’s promises of a more downfield approach with elevated pass rates were a farce. Friends, that simply is not the case (or maybe it is, I dunno – we have a sample size of one). To me, the Chargers devised an offensive game plan that gave them the best chance to win the game against Vic Fangio and the Dolphins. Fangio is someone that doesn’t blitz heavily (below average 19.4 percent in Week 1), plays heavy rates of zone through Cover-2 and Cover-3 (even some quarters and quarters press), and shifts his situational play-calling tendencies to confuse a quarterback throughout the game. The Chargers still played with pace (10th-ranked situation-neutral pace of play and sixth-ranked seconds per play), but simply took what their opposition gave them (20th-ranked pass rate over expectation) – and it was working, to boot! The Chargers gained 233 yards on the ground against the Dolphins, so you can’t tell me the game plan was flawed here. Okay, so how does that relate to what to expect against the Titans? The matchup is about as polar opposite as one could expect. Yes, the Titans run a ton of zone converage and blitz at comparable rates (21.2 percent in Week 1), but they have consistently challenged for league-worst marks in defensive aDOT and explosive plays allowed through the air. All of that to say, if I’m sitting in Moore’s shoes on Tuesday and Wednesday, I’m drawing up a game plan to play with pace and attack the intermediate-to-deep areas of the field against Tennessee.
Austin Ekeler missed practice on Wednesday with a listing of “Ankle/NIR – personal.” Your guess is as good as mine as to what that means as far as his true status goes. We know he picked up an ankle injury in Week 1 because he missed two drives, the last of which was the team’s final possession of the game, but we don’t know how serious the ankle injury is just yet. That said, his immediate backup and regular change-of-pace back Joshua Kelley has proven to be more than capable for what the team is asking of their running back position. Either way, the matchup on the ground is far from ideal, which, in my mind, shifts the likely plan of attack towards the air. In typical Mike Vrabel fashion, the Titans allowed the Saints to rush for just 2.6 yards per carry (Jamaal Williams had just 45 yards on 18 carries) in Week 1. Their 3-4 base with heavy Cover-2 utilization allows seven men in the box on most plays, a number that can grow to eight or nine depending on situational play calling. Spoiler alert – it’s difficult to run against the Titans.
Those same tendencies also expose their secondary on a regular basis, and the team is now dealing with injuries to strong safety Amani Hooker (concussion) and cornerback Kristian Fulton (hamstring, the year of our Lord, 2023). In the 2022 season, the Titans faced the most pass attempts against (671, or 39.5 per game!) and ceded a moderate 7.9 defensive aDOT against. If that doesn’t scream “Keenan Allen,” I don’t know what does. As we’ve continued in this journey for how we expect the Chargers to attack the Titans, we’ve been building towards this moment. And that would only grow should Ekeler miss this contest. Keenan was the only Chargers pass-catcher to play more than 77 percent of the offensive snaps in Week 1, but fellow wideout Mike Williams left briefly after a scary collision (meaning he likely would have been up there in snaps as well). Behind those two, Joshua Palmer saw 64 percent of the offensive snaps, Quentin Johnston saw 27 percent (lolz), tight end Gerald Everett saw 68 percent, and tight end Donald Parham saw 27 percent.
The Titans ranked 20th in explosive play rate allowed through the air a season ago – still bad, but not as bad as the industry would lead you to believe. Allen saw 46 percent of the team’s available air yards on the back of nine targets (27.27 percent target market share) in Week 1. All that said, Keenan represents the best path for the Chargers to move the football, but that does not necessarily mean he is a top-range- of-outcomes play on this slate due to where he is priced and his relative low likelihood of providing a score you couldn’t win without. More on that in the DFS+ section. That leaves Mr. Soft Tissue and Concussion, otherwise known as Mike Williams. Whereas Allen is priced for his median with a low probability chance of outlier production, Williams is priced for a shaky median with an elite top-end present in his range of outcomes in this spot.
How Tennessee Will Try To Win ::
Raiders Run D26th DVOA/32nd Yards allowed per carry
Bills Run O9th DVOA/4th Yards per carry
Raiders Pass D26th DVOA/4th Yards allowed per pass
Bills Pass O12th DVOA/28th Yards per pass
Bills Run D3rd DVOA/30th Yards allowed per carry
Raiders Run O32nd DVOA/27th Yards per carry
Bills Pass D8th DVOA/22nd Yards allowed per pass
Raiders Pass O9th DVOA/24th Yards per pass
Game Overview ::
By Hilow >>
- Josh Allen is likely to have more time in the pocket considering the minuscule 10.8 percent pressure rate from Las Vegas in Week 1 – large expected boost to the downfield presences here (Gabe Davis and potentially Stefon Diggs).
- James Cook dominated backfield opportunities in Week 1 but still only saw 59 percent of the offensive snaps.
- Dawson Knox saw elite underlying usage in Week 1 – 92.6 percent route participation rate and 59 percent slot snap rate.
- Buffalo has been most susceptible to power rushing attacks, particularly those with breakaway assets – Josh Jacobs saw an elite 80 percent snap rate and 88 percent team opportunity share in Week 1 and finished 2022 with the sixth most breakaway runs (15).
- Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers combined to account for a 73.1 percent team target market share in Week 1 – Meyers is currently in the league’s concussion protocol following a vicious hit late in the fourth quarter last week.
- Somewhat quietly, both of these teams held pass rate over expectation values in the top half of the league in Week 1, with the Raiders checking in at 11th and the Bills checking in at sixth.
- There is one clear and obvious path for this game environment to erupt – more on this in the DFS+ Interpretation section!
How Las Vegas Will Try To Win ::
Josh McDaniels showed us that his concentrated offenses from years past are likely to continue into 2023. Two players accounted for 73.1 percent of the team’s available targets and one player accounted for 85 percent of the team’s running back opportunities. Those players, of course, were Davante Adams (nine targets, 35.6 percent target share), Jakobi Meyers (38.5 percent target share), and Josh Jacobs (19 of 20 running back carries and three of five running back targets). We have a pretty good idea of what the offense is expected to look like from the Raiders this season, beginning with run-balanced attacks which should be expected to maintain the emphasis for as long as they remain within striking distance. The final glaring observation from this team is that they lack much in the way of a downfield presence, which we saw translate into a moderate 7.0 intended air yards per pass attempt value from Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 1. Furthermore, the type of routes the wide receivers ran to open the season lacked the ability to allow for significant yards after the catch, as evidenced by the team’s 3.1 YAC per completion (29th).
The best chance for the Raiders to stay in this game the longest is via the run game, but they’ll need some level of success through the air to keep the Bills from simply stacking the box against them – as they did against the Jets once Aaron Rodgers left the game. Either way, pure volume expectations for Josh Jacobs are amongst the highest on the slate at the running back position. As was mentioned above, Jacobs returned from his holdout to immediately reclaim his workhorse role on this offense and should be a near lock to finish the majority of weeks in the top three in total volume this season. One of the aspects likely to aid the Raiders in this pursuit is the general tendencies of the Bills defense to operate from nickel base alignments. That typically results in one of the lower stacked box rates in the league. Furthermore, the Bills lost elite inside linebacker Tremaine Edmunds this offseason. In all, I expect the Raiders to want to control the ball for as long as possible on the ground against an opponent that is best attacked in that way.
As was mentioned above, this pass offense was the most concentrated of any team in Week 1, with two players accounting for over 73 percent of the available targets. One of those players is in the concussion protocol after experiencing a “lights out” event at the end of the game last week (Jakobi Meyers). Should Meyers gain clearance from his concussion, expect a similar setup against a Bills team that should filter most of the pass work against them toward the middle of the field, which is likelies to benefit Meyers over Adams (unless McDaniels motions Adams into the slot at a higher rate, which he only did in the red zone a week ago). Adams ran very few 7-9 routes (corner, post, and go) last week, instead living in the 3-6 realm (comeback, curl, dig, and out). This also exacerbates the one-dimensional nature of this offense as it allows safeties to creep up to a more shallow depth behind the linebackers, which likely explains the low YAC/completion from Week 1. The Raiders operated primarily from a 21-personnel in Week 1 through a 46 percent snap rate from fullback Jakob Johnson, with tight ends Austin Hooper and Michael Mayer splitting snaps almost down the middle. That meant only Adams and Meyers saw a snap rate above 53 percent in Week 1, amongst pass-catchers.
How Buffalo Will Try To Win ::
Giants Run D24th DVOA/19th Yards allowed per carry
Cardinals Run O17th DVOA/10th Yards per carry
Giants Pass D29th DVOA/29th Yards allowed per pass
Cardinals Pass O14th DVOA/26th Yards per pass
Cardinals Run D14th DVOA/17th Yards allowed per carry
Giants Run O16th DVOA/18th Yards per carry
Cardinals Pass D17th DVOA/26th Yards allowed per pass
Giants Pass O30th DVOA/30th Yards per pass
Game Overview ::
By hilow >>
- Darren Waller missed practice on Wednesday but was upgraded to limited on Thursday with an injury to the same hamstring that gave him issues last year.
- James Conner was limited in back to back sessions to begin the week with a calf injury. I expect he’ll be fine for Week 2.
- Jonathan Gannon’s defense held its own in Week 1, likely attributed to the unique nature of his 2-high base defense (more on this below).
- Joshua Dobbs managed just 132 passing on 6.4 average intended air yards in Week 1.
- Let’s play a game – how many weeks into the season will the Cardinals get before they score an offensive touchdown?
- Wink “the madman” Martindale against this derelict Arizona offensive line spells trouble.
How new york Will Try To Win ::
The Giants are coming off the most lopsided loss in franchise history with a 40-0 shellacking at the hands of the Cowboys. In that game, Daniel Jones took seven sacks, threw two picks, and fumbled the ball twice (both were recovered by the Giants). That said, they could not ask for a better get-right opponent in the Cardinals, who are starting Joshua Dobbs for the second consecutive week and have dismantled their defense over the previous two seasons. Pass rate over expectation (PROE) values and situation neutral pace of play values mean next to nothing from their first time out considering the extremely negative game script and overall shortcomings from their offense. Last season under Brian Daboll, the Giants finished near the middle of the pack in those two metrics and were mostly a slave to the game environment in which they found themselves as a measure of their aggression. Considering the opponent this week, I’d expect them to approach things with a relatively conservative tone and an emphasis on execution.
Saquon Barkley held a modest (for him) 64 percent snap rate in the team’s Week 1 blowout loss but handled 16 of 22 running back opportunities, good for a 72.7 percent team share. Barkley is also coming off a season where he ranked second in snap rate (79.9 percent) and third in opportunity share (80.1 percent), meaning we should expect him to continue to operate in one of the most robust roles in the league. The Cardinals actually held their own against the run in Week 1 against the Commanders, holding Washington to just 3.3 yards per carry on 28 attempts. Consider the matchup closer to neutral than we originally thought heading into the season, which is likely attributable to new head coach Jonathan Gannon. Matt Breida and Gary Brightwell are on hand to handle any change of pace duties required.
The state of this Giants pass catching corps is one for the ages. They ran 12-personnel over 40 percent of the time in Week 1 with a mix of Daniel Bellinger (63 percent), Darren Waller (54 percent), and Lawrence Cager (29 percent). No wide receiver played more than 67 percent of the team’s offensive snaps (Parris Campbell and Darius Slayton), with Isaiah Hodgins (60 percent), Jalin Hyatt (36 percent), and Sterling Shepard (20 percent) all seeing work as well. In a more competitive game, I would expect the top three (Slayton, Hodgins, and Campbell) to be closer to 80 percent considering the elevated 12-personnel rates. The Cardinals blitzed at a slightly above average rate in Week 1 (25.6 percent) but generated pressure at a low 17.9 percent clip. Gannon’s defensive scheme operates primarily from a shallow 2-high, which means the safeties are closer to the line of scrimmage than in a normal 2-high alignment. This unique look typically generates more confusion from an opposing quarterback, which I believe to be the reason the Cardinals were able to hold Sam Howell to just 19-for-31 for 201 yards passing in Week 1, despite the relative lack of elite abilities amongst the Arizona defensive pieces.
How Arizona Will Try To Win ::
49ers Run D22nd DVOA/14th Yards allowed per carry
Rams Run O12th DVOA/28th Yards per carry
49ers Pass D4th DVOA/1st Yards allowed per pass
Rams Pass O4th DVOA/5th Yards per pass
Rams Run D30th DVOA/31st Yards allowed per carry
49ers Run O2nd DVOA/6th Yards per carry
Rams Pass D22nd DVOA/12th Yards allowed per pass
49ers Pass O8th DVOA/3rd Yards per pass
Game Overview ::
By mike johnson >>
- The 49ers offense picked up right where they left off with Brock Purdy in 2022 – scoring 30 points and rolling over their competition.
- San Francisco’s defense is one of the top units in the league and is built to give the Rams fits moving the ball.
- Los Angeles is riding high coming off a surprising Week 1 win in Seattle but now has to deal with one of the top teams in the NFL.
- The 49ers offensive personnel is built perfectly to attack this Rams defensive scheme.
- The Rams took everyone by surprise last week, but their talent deficiencies are likely to be exposed against a talented, well-coached, and focused 49ers unit.
How san francisco Will Try To Win ::
For most teams, when evaluating “how” they play, people reference their run-pass splits and their tempo. To me, the 49ers are a different animal altogether. The way this team is built schematically and personnel wise feels more like a basketball team than a football team. Let me explain. There are five players on a basketball court. In football, the offense has 11 players, but 5 of them are offensive linemen who can’t touch the ball which leaves 6 players to share the rock. Quarterback Brock Purdy rarely, if ever, runs the ball and the 49ers basically ignore one of the five remaining players – whoever is in as their second tight end, third wide receiver, or second running back. This leaves a situation where one of four players (Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, or George Kittle) is touching the ball on basically every play for them. To illustrate my point, in the first three quarters of the 49ers season opening win in Pittsburgh, one of those four players touched the ball on 48 of the 53 offensive plays that didn’t end in a sack. Brock Purdy is the “point guard” of this basketball team and Christian McCaffrey is going to get the most shots, but the “balance” here is not about run vs. pass as much as it is about the fact that they have four game breaking players you have to account for at all times.
This week, San Francisco looks to continue their dominance tour on a trip south to Los Angeles. The Rams defense played well in their season opening win over the Seahawks, but that probably had more to do with Seattle’s offensive line injuries and issues than it did with the Rams defense being far better than we expected. While I do think Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris is a good coach, I think his lack of talent is going to catch up with him in this matchup with an insanely talented unit that has an elite scheme. The 49ers have now scored 30+ points in seven of nine games that Brock Purdy has played and finished for them dating back to last season, and the way they play really doesn’t have to change based on the opponent. Brandon Aiyuk and Christian McCaffrey had the big games in Week 1, but Kittle and Deebo will have their opportunities every week (they had six and nine opportunities respectively last week) and their ability to break tackles and bust off explosive chunk plays should come in handy against a Rams scheme that has played an extensive amount of zone defense and tried to keep the game in front of them the last couple of years. The biggest issue Seattle had was they just couldn’t even get first downs to sustain drives. San Francisco has too much talent to have that issue and the Rams managed only four hurries and two sacks against Seattle despite multiple offensive linemen getting hurt during the game. This should result in a lot of clean pockets for Brock Purdy and he should have plenty of time to find his weapons in openings in the zones. While the 49ers may not break off the massive gains this week, there should be plenty of chunk plays of the 10 to 25 yard variety. The 49ers balance will not change for their opponent, just their means of getting to it.
How los Angeles Will Try To Win ::
Jets Run D7th DVOA/9th Yards allowed per carry
Cowboys Run O22nd DVOA/23rd Yards per carry
Jets Pass D21st DVOA/6th Yards allowed per pass
Cowboys Pass O13th DVOA/23rd Yards per pass
Cowboys Run D1st DVOA/16th Yards allowed per carry
Jets Run O29th DVOA/2nd Yards per carry
Cowboys Pass D1st DVOA/2nd Yards allowed per pass
Jets Pass O31st DVOA/12th Yards per pass
Game Overview ::
By mike johnson >>
- It is hard to imagine two teams having more opposite results to begin their seasons than these two high profile organizations.
- If Aaron Rodgers were playing, this game would have significantly higher scoring expectations.
- Breece Hall and Dalvin Cook will likely have to carry the load for the Jets, whose offense is right back where it spent 2022.
- This sets up as a defensive battle between two of the top units in the league.
- Turnovers will likely drive the outcome of this game.
How new york Will Try To Win ::
The Jets had possibly the most bittersweet way to start a season on Monday night. Winning a nationally televised game in primetime with a walk-off, game-winning punt return touchdown is about as exciting as it gets for a regular season game. Despite that, the news of a torn Achilles tendon that ended the season and possibly the career of Aaron Rodgers has cast a dark shadow over the Jets organization. The Jets are now left trying to pick up the pieces on what was expected to be a year where they become contenders in the AFC. Given the state of the AFC and how many upper-echelon QBs are in the conference, the Jets are now left facing an uphill battle that seems destined to look very similar to 2022.
In January of this year, if you asked a knowledgeable NFL fan what they thought the worst possible offensive play caller/QB combination in the league would be, they probably would have answered Nathaniel Hackett and Zach Wilson. We are now in store for 16 more games of exactly that. The Jets managed a paltry 140 passing yards in Week 1 and ran the ball on 55% of their offensive plays. This week against a ferocious Dallas defense, the Jets will undoubtedly use a similar approach and rely heavily on Breece Hall and Dalvin Cook. It seems highly unlikely that the Jets will put much on Zach Wilson’s plate in this matchup and should be prioritizing getting the ball out of his hands very quickly. The goal of these sections of the NFL Edge is to figure out the strategy of each team. There really isn’t a ton of nuance to get into on this side of the ball, however, as the approach seems very clear and predictable: rely heavily on the running game and hope the defense can give you a chance for something fluky to happen late in the game. There are some creative things that a team in this spot could do to take advantage of an aggressive Dallas defense such as draws, screens, and quick hitters. They could also use some play action and take some deep shots hoping to let their strong wide receivers make plays on the ball. Unfortunately, my faith in Nathaniel Hackett’s creativity is very low. Even when he had success in Green Bay, his concepts were very vanilla and straightforward, so a sudden burst of creativity in a short week seems unlikely. Long-term, the Jets may find ways to open things up, but their best (and possibly only) hope here is to bring the Cowboys down to their level offensively.
How dallas Will Try To Win ::
Commanders Run D17th DVOA/25th Yards allowed per carry
Broncos Run O7th DVOA/9th Yards per carry
Commanders Pass D9th DVOA/21st Yards allowed per pass
Broncos Pass O15th DVOA/13th Yards per pass
Broncos Run D20th DVOA/10th Yards allowed per carry
Commanders Run O10th DVOA/15th Yards per carry
Broncos Pass D28th DVOA/19th Yards allowed per pass
Commanders Pass O17th DVOA/20th Yards per pass
Game Overview ::
By mjohnson86 >>
- If you’re looking for offensive efficiency, you’ve come to the wrong place.
- The Broncos receiving corps continues to take hits with injuries and inconsistency, keeping them from being a “feared” unit.
- Both defenses had strong Week 1 performances, although it is easy to question the quality of their opponents.
- A lack of downfield aggression or explosiveness from the running games will make it hard for scoring to really get going.
- The head coaches in this game – Sean Payton and Ron Rivera – have a long history of facing each other as both were rivals in the NFC South for several years.
How Washington Will Try To Win ::
The Washington offense was honestly pretty disappointing in Week 1. Playing at home against a “left for dead” Arizona team who appears to be fine with a lost season, the Commanders struggled to move the ball all game. Offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy came over from Kansas City and was expected to spark things, but they failed to be much of a threat for the majority of the game. Washington scored a touchdown on their second drive which was a six-play, 91-yard possession. After that, they struggled to move the ball the rest of the game and even their 10 4th-quarter points happened as the result of turnovers leading to short fields.
Denver’s defense looked solid in Week 1, but the Commanders offense has a much different profile than the Raiders did. First of all, Raiders QB Jimmy Garoppolo is a pocket-statue type of QB who isn’t going to do much with his legs. Sam Howell is very different in that regard. Likewise, the Raiders offense is very concentrated as they have three players who soak up almost all of their usage. On the contrary, Washington can spread things around quite a bit with two running backs, three or four wide receivers, and two tight ends all finding their way into the mix. The Broncos defense barely got any pressure against the Raiders, but their secondary is strong enough that they can still keep teams from being too explosive against them. Unless Denver’s offense is able to prove something, It seems likely that Washington will have a relatively conservative game plan early in this one. The running backs, tight ends, and Curtis Samuel should be pretty busy as Washington works the short areas and middle of the field rather than challenging Patrick Surtain and company on the perimeter. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple of shot plays dialed up opposite Surtain. While the schemes are different in many ways for this defense from last year, Bienemy should at least be very familiar with the personnel for the Broncos defense after facing them twice a year for his whole time in Kansas City.
How Denver Will Try To Win ::
Dolphins Run D29th DVOA/27th Yards allowed per carry
Patriots Run O20th DVOA/22nd Yards per carry
Dolphins Pass D13th DVOA/3rd Yards allowed per pass
Patriots Pass O18th DVOA/29th Yards per pass
Patriots Run D23rd DVOA/21st Yards allowed per carry
Dolphins Run O1st DVOA/12th Yards per carry
Patriots Pass D24th DVOA/14th Yards allowed per pass
Dolphins Pass O1st DVOA/1st Yards per pass
XANDAMERE’S SHOWDOWN SLANT
Sunday Night Football has the Dolphins visiting the Patriots for a 46.5 total game with Miami favored by 2.5, so essentially a toss-up when home field advantage is considered. It’s something of a strength-on-strength matchup as the Dolphins elite offense goes up against the strong (especially at home) Patriots D, while on the other side, we have a Pats offense that we don’t really know the identity of yet going up against a Dolphins D that is strong on paper but just gave up 34 to the Chargers in Week 1. So, on the one hand, some knowns, while on the other hand, unknowns, which makes for a fun Showdown.
We’ll start with the run game where Raheem Mostert largely had the backfield to himself, playing 73% of the snaps but only netting 12 running back opportunities (10 carries, two targets) as Miami had a largely aerial game plan. Backup Salvon Ahmed played 28% of the snaps and had six opportunities (three carries, three targets, none of which he caught), while fullback Alec Ingold caught two targets. Tua Tagovailoa attempted 45 passes for a whopping 75% passing play rate on dropbacks (not counting Tua’s scramble attempts). On this week’s show with Hilow, I talked about how projection systems have a hard time accounting for extreme scenarios, and this is one of them. No projection system is going to project a 75% passing play rate, but sometimes teams do that. What’s curious is that the Chargers are a team that has long been viewed as being more vulnerable on the ground, and many of their opponents try to go for a rushing-focused attack, until or unless, they are forced to do otherwise, but Miami just came out throwing and kept throwing. The game was close throughout so it wasn’t as if the Chargers jumped out to a big lead and Miami changed their game plan in response. Given that the matchup favored the run, I think this tells us something useful about how Miami plans to run its offense this year, and that is through Tua and its passing game. Mostert will get work, of course, but the lion’s share of the running back work is less valuable when a team is only calling rush attempts on 25% of their offensive plays. That leaves Mostert overpriced for his likeliest workload at $8,000, but he could still prove useful if he falls into some touchdowns, and we could see the Dolphins adopt a more run-heavy approach if they’re playing with a lead later in the game. All of this makes me want to shy away from Mostert broadly, but I will utilize him more heavily on rosters that are predicated on the Dolphins winning the game handily. We could also see more of Ahmed if the Dolphins are playing with a significant lead given Mostert’s extensive injury history (they may not want to give him 20 carries no matter what the game scenario, and may use Ahmed to try and preserve Mostert). Finally, rookie Devon Achane was inactive in Week 1 even though he had no injury designation, but my guess is the Dolphins were just being cautious with their young guy. After a full week of practice, I expect him to be active for this game, though likely in a fairly modest role. Achane has some explosive talent to him, so he could potentially go off on limited touches. I also expect he’ll be low owned because projection systems aren’t likely to award him a lot of touches (and thus if he projects for like 3-5 points at $4,600, his ownership will be very low but I do think he has 12-15 point upside, which is a smash at that price).
Ownership updates automatically
In the passing game, one reason we loved Miami last season is that their offense was almost ludicrously concentrated around Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. That was still somewhat the case in Week 1, with the duo seeing 20 targets on 45 pass attempts, though it was skewed with 15 to Hill and just five for Waddle. Given Waddle’s talent, I think that was just a random blip and not the beginning of a trend. What is curious is the rest of the distribution: slot man Braxton Berrios saw five targets, but River Cracraft saw five of his own. One detail worth noting is that Hill and Waddle only played 66% and 64% of the snaps, respectively (far less than primary WRs generally play. I’m unsure if this is a trend or just an early season “easing in,” but it does create some more volatility in the Dolphins receiving corps). Some guy named Erik Ezukanma also saw 28% of the WR snaps but no targets, but at minimum salary just being on the field that much puts him in play for MME. Also interesting is that Durham Smythe played 100% of the snaps at tight end, and despite having a lengthy reputation as primarily being a blocker, he saw seven targets in Week 1 (after the Dolphins coaching staff talked up wanting to get him more involved in the passing game). Week 1 alert: we shouldn’t read too much into what happened in one game, but this certainly creates some interesting value options on Miami. Smythe is the one I feel the most confident about because he’s going to be on the field a ton and the target spike also coincides with some coaching comments about using him more as a receiver this year. Berrios and Cracraft are volatile options but both are likely to at least be involved in the passing game. We can’t reasonably project Tua to drop back 45 times again, but something like 2-4 targets feels like a safe projection for both of them with some upside for more. Overall, though, Hill and Waddle are the big dogs here, which makes the Miami side relatively easy: we like Tua, we like Hill, we like Waddle, and we can mix in the other guys occasionally.
Saints Run D16th DVOA/28th Yards allowed per carry
Panthers Run O26th DVOA/3rd Yards per carry
Saints Pass D3rd DVOA/9th Yards allowed per pass
Panthers Pass O25th DVOA/32nd Yards per pass
Panthers Run D31st DVOA/22nd Yards allowed per carry
Saints Run O15th DVOA/24th Yards per carry
Panthers Pass D5th DVOA/8th Yards allowed per pass
Saints Pass O20th DVOA/6th Yards per pass
XANDAMERE’S SHOWDOWN SLANT
We got two Monday night games this week, which means two Showdowns! The first of these has the Saints visiting the Panthers for a 39.5 total game with New Orleans favored by three. So, a pretty miserable offensive environment in this one, or at least that’s what Vegas expects . . . and it’s kind of hard to argue.
The New Orleans backfield starts with Jamaal Williams, but unlike in Week 1, it may not end there as rookie Kendre Miller is trending toward being active. If Miller misses, Williams should handle a bell cow role as he did in Week 1 (75% of the snaps and 20 RB opportunities compared to 17% and 11% for backups Adam Prentice and Tony Jones). This is simple: if no Miller, Williams has a big role (but little explosive ability and a modest receiving role), while Jones and Prentice are MME dart throws. Williams should find this matchup easier than last week’s against the Titans and their stifling run defense, but he’s still a plodding, grinder-type back who might see 1-3 targets and will almost certainly need a touchdown to pay off. At $8k, though, he isn’t priced for a bell cow role and would represent a solid on-paper option. If Miller is active, we have a confusing and volatile situation to try and make sense of. My guess is Williams still starts but his role is more like 60-65% with Miller scooping up the rest, which means at $3k (and likely pretty low ownership, especially if we don’t get news until inactives are released), Miller is an interesting tournament option. Taysom Hill will also steal a few carries but at $4,800 his workload isn’t likely to justify his price unless he scores a touchdown (which, as we know, he has an annoying tendency to do quite often). View him as a TD-or-bust tourney option.
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In the passing game, Michael Thomas somewhat surprisingly led all pass catchers in snaps with 80% but only landed on a 5/61/0 line on eight targets despite facing an incredible pass funnel matchup. At $8,400, he’s overpriced in a tougher matchup and can be viewed as a “pay up to be contrarian” play. The real alpha on the Saints is now Chris Olave, who caught 8 of 10 targets last week for 112 yards. Olave’s the premier skill position play in this game, and as is often the case in Showdowns with one premium play, I don’t have much to say about him – he’s the best play on the slate, you can choose to embrace that or take the high-risk option and avoid him at likely enormous ownership. Pick your poison. Rashid Shaheed found the end zone last week and saw a healthy six targets while operating as the primary deep threat (he even got a couple of carries!). Shaheed is sort of like Christian Watson last year – volatile, high upside, good touchdown equity. He’s not going to see a ton of volume so he’ll need to hit on something like 4-6 targets, but with his role and his speed, he’s capable of doing so. Keith Kirkwood should rotate in a bit and can be a thin punt option. At tight end, we’ll see a plethora of guys with Juwan Johnson, Foster Moreau, and Jimmy Graham all seeing snaps last week (plus Hill sometimes lines up at TE). All of them are capable pass catchers, no pure blocking tight ends here. Johnson is clearly the best option as we know he’ll be involved in the passing game, and he had a solid red zone role last year but the return of MT might sap some of that given his short-area role – something the Saints lacked in 2022. Moreau and Graham are punt options, and of the three pass-catcher punts the Saints will roll out, I would rank them Moreau, then Kirkwood, then Graham. Worth noting here is the Panthers defense looks reasonably solid on paper though we didn’t get a chance to see it last week because the Falcons just run, run, run . . . but I expect this will be an above average unit against opposing passing attacks, creating a strength-on-strength matchup (the Panthers are better against the pass than the run, but the Saints run game looks pretty poor until Kamara returns, unless Miller is active and is able to inject some explosiveness).
Browns Run D6th DVOA/4th Yards allowed per carry
Steelers Run O28th DVOA/27th Yards per carry
Browns Pass D2nd DVOA/13th Yards allowed per pass
Steelers Pass O32nd DVOA/24th Yards per pass
Steelers Run D21st DVOA/32nd Yards allowed per carry
Browns Run O11th DVOA/1st Yards per carry
Steelers Pass D10th DVOA/23rd Yards allowed per pass
Browns Pass O26th DVOA/17th Yards per pass
XANDAMERE’S SHOWDOWN SLANT
The second Monday night Showdown of Week 2 is . . . oh, it’s the Browns visiting the Steelers. While I’m excited to get an extra Showdown this week, good lord, why these games. This is a 38 total game with the Browns favored by two, so just like Saints // Panthers, another short road favorite in a low total game. Fun! But there’s still money to be made, so let’s try to figure it out.
Cleveland’s backfield is about Nick Chubb. The uber-talented back saw 22 opportunities in last week’s stomping of the Bengals, putting up 106 rushing yards on 18 carries and catching all four targets for another 21 yards. The passing game work is key to Chubb’s newly-unlocked value sans Kareem Hunt, as we rarely saw him get much receiving work when Hunt was in town. Chubb played 49% of the snaps, while RB2 Jerome Ford played 41% and saw 15 carries (no targets, and also lost a red zone fumble). So is this a split backfield? I would argue no, as 11 of Ford’s 15 carries came late in the second half when the Browns were nursing a multi-touchdown lead against a Bengals offense that couldn’t get anything going. If the game had been competitive, that would have put Ford on pace for something like 6-7 touches, which marks him as a change of pace/breather back, not a timeshare. At $12,200, Chubb is awfully expensive but he’s clearly the premier skill position player in this game. At $200, Ford makes plenty of sense as a value play, but he’s not well-suited to just stick in any random lineup. He makes sense if you think Chubb gets hurt, or if you think the Browns just crush the Steelers and he gets garbage time work as he did last week. Also worth noting is that he played so poorly that we MIGHT see Pierre Strong get some run in this one (also at just $200). Nothing’s certain here, but if running MME sets, I would suggest having Strong in your player pool, manually adjusting his projection to match Ford’s, and setting a “max 1” rule.
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In the passing game, Deshaun Watson looked better in Week 1 than he did last season (which makes sense after his lengthy time off). He didn’t have to do much, but he threw for 154 yards and a score, also rushing for 45 yards and another score (all in pretty gross weather). He’s the clear best cash game captain option and a very strong tournament play. We also get some value here as Amari Cooper has been reported as unlikely to play, which leaves the Browns with a receiving corps of Elijah Moore and Donovan Peoples-Jones as full-time receivers and then some mix of Cedric Tillman, David Bell, and Marquise Goodwin mixing in. Moore should fill the WR1 role, operating from the slot and/or X role, and he’s the favorite to lead the team in targets. He’ll commit egregious drops and missed catches, but he’s awfully fast and talented (when he catches the ball). At $6,600, he’s just flat-out underpriced for his role. DPJ is similarly underpriced at $5k, but his role is generally as more of a deep target – it’s possible that could change (more in a minute), but overall I view him as a more volatile version of Moore. As for the other guys . . . one thing we could see the Browns do is use DPJ in more of a traditional perimeter role but not as a pure deep target, and let either Tillman or Goodwin run the deep routes. I have no real information to suggest this will be the case, but as we consider the possibilities of how the Browns will respond to Amari’s absence, it’s on the list of possibilities. Tillman is an interesting rookie who I think could make an impact when given a chance, while Goodwin is a former Olympian – basically, they’re both super fast and if they get usage and catch a couple of passes, they could take it to the house from anywhere. David Bell is “just a guy.” Early in the season, I feel like it’s likeliest that Goodwin gets more run, or at least the first shot at more run, before Tillman, but this could really go either way. Personally, I rank them as Goodwin, Tillman, and Bell, but I have low conviction in those rankings and you could argue it any possible way. Another path for the Browns would be to use more 2-TE sets, something they’re already fond of (something like a 30% 12-personnel formation in Week 1). David Njoku, Harrison Bryant, and Jordan Akins are all talented and proven pass catchers, so the Browns may opt to lean in that direction instead of their less-tested wide receiver depth. Njoku at $7,000 is the most expensive pass catcher on the Browns, which is funny . . . he’s fine, he’s reasonably talented, had a great training camp, but $7,000 is a lot to pay. He’s something of a pay up to be contrarian option. Bryant and Akins will compete for snaps behind him and at cheap prices are fun punt options (so much value on this slate). I’ll talk more in the rules section about how you can think about constraining pairings of these guys in an optimizer for MME runs.