Week 3 Advanced Matchups


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Week 3 Advanced Matchups

Table of Contents

  1. ATS, Total Wagers, and Moneyline Parlay
  2. Washington Football Team at Buffalo Bills
  3. Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns
  4. Baltimore Ravens at Detroit Lions
  5. Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans
  6. Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs
  7. New Orleans Saints at New England Patriots
  8. Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants
  9. Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers
  10. Arizona Cardinals at Jacksonville Jaguars
  11. Miami Dolphins at Las Vegas Raiders
  12. New York Jets at Denver Broncos
  13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Los Angeles Rams
  14. Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings

The statistics tell us that we’re more likely to discontinue a nicotine, heroin, or even social media addiction than turning a profit in DFS. Failure is built directly into the game. Need proof? Just take a look at the percentage chance that you’ll cash out in DraftKings’ NFL $5M Fantasy Football Millionaire contest in Week 1. Only 304,500 out of 1,194,000 entries (25.5%) will profit. And that profit rate is consistent across all GPPs.

If we’re being honest — and we are — how much of that 24-26% is dedicated to individuals who carelessly throw together an off-the-cuff lineup without dedicated research? More importantly, how much of that number is dedicated to those that not only research every conceivable angle, but dedicate 100% of their office time to those decisions? It’s relatively safe to assume that, since you are reading this, you fully realize the odds are stacked against you unless proper preparation is followed to the letter.

If you’ve read my previous work, you are already aware how much of my DFS analysis centers on the defensive coverage schemes (aka shells) an offense will face. Once we have knowledge of a defense’s featured coverage shells, the history of results vs. those schemes provides invaluable insight into a QBs or receiver’s weekly upside.

In addition to providing the same invaluable passing game analysis from last season, Advanced Matchups has evolved to encompass offensive ground game study. In fact, each and every team will now be analyzed to provide more Advanced Matchups than ever before. As a premium subscriber at Fantasy Points, you also have access to an Advanced Matchups that will be updated throughout the week.

With all of that out of the way, let’s cannonball our way into the Week 3 analysis.

A slight alteration to the format this week. We’ll be releasing Advanced Matchups in three parts:

  1. Thursday Night Football
  2. The Main Sunday Slate (will be released early tomorrow)
  3. Sunday and Monday Night Football (will be released later tomorrow)

The same level of analysis will be packed into the trilogy for all of your needs. My Against the Spread picks, Total wagers, and, new for this week, Moneyline parlay are included if you so choose to tail my selections. Week 2 was not kind to my ATS picks, easily the worst week since I began including picks early last season.

Against the Spread Picks (5-7 — 1-5 in Week 2 😱)

Tennessee Titans (-5.5) vs. Indianapolis Colts
Arizona Cardinals (-7.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Los Angeles Rams (+1.0) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Seattle Seahawks (-2.0) at Minnesota Vikings
Green Bay Packers (+3.5) at San Francisco 49ers

Total Wagers (3-3 — 1-1 in Week 2)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Los Angeles Rams (Under 55.5)
Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers (Over 49.5)
Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys (Over 51.5)

Moneyline Parlay

Carolina Panthers (-380) at Houston Texans
Arizona Cardinals (-355) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Tennessee Titans (-260) vs. Indianapolis Colts
Buffalo Bills (-390) vs. Washington Football Team
Kansas City Chiefs (-300) vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Denver Broncos (-610) vs. New York Jets

Washington Football Team at Buffalo Bills

1:00 PM EST

Orchard Park, New York

Highmark Stadium


Betting Line: Bills -7.0

Over/Under: 45.5

Moneyline: Bills (-352), Washington (+280)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives


QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (No Practice - OUT/IR - Dislocated Hip)

RB Antonio Gibson (Limited Practice - Probable - Shoulder)

DT Matt Ioannidis (Limited Practice - Questionable - Knee)


WR Gabriel Davis (Limited Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

WR Isaiah McKenzie (Full Practice - Probable - Shoulder)

DT Star Lotulelei (Limited Practice - Questionable - Groin)

DE Efe Obada (Full Practice - Probable - Calf)

ILB Tremaine Edmunds (Full Practice - Probable - Heat Illness)

CB Levi Wallace (Limited Practice - Questionable - Knee)

CB Dane Jackson (Limited Practice - Questionable - Knee)

S Micah Hyde (Limited Practice - Questionable - Neck)

Matchups to Target

Josh Allen, BUF ($7.0K DK | $8.0K FD) vs. Washington’s Cover 4

I get it. No duh. Nobody should need to be told that Josh Allen is a stud QB after what he accomplished last season. But he hasn’t produced those expected numbers, falling 18% under floor value in the first two games. We aren’t presented with much of a discount this week, but the Bills are heavy home favorites. Washington ranks ninth with 281 passing YPG allowed, but they’ve only permitted a single TD reception. WFT has authorized opposing offenses to convert 58.1% of third-down attempts (third-highest). Perhaps it’s a stat that will correct itself over the next few weeks, perhaps not. Despite a pair of tough matchups from Pittsburgh and Miami, Allen is still averaging the third-most opportunities (passing plus rushing attempts) per game (49). Facing the fourth-highest rate of Cover 4 (third-highest last season), Allen just happens to specialize in producing against a four-high shell. He ranks fifth-best over the last three seasons in FPs/dropback against Cover 4.

Stefon Diggs, BUF ($7.6K DK | $7.7K FD) vs. Benjamin St-Juste, BUF

Adding to the allure of Josh Allen exposure, if Washington DC Jack Del Rio ends up using William Jackson III to cover Stefon Diggs, it will lessen Diggsy’s upside opposite Washington’s 12th-highest rate of Cover 1. But would, in turn, transfer that upside over to Emmanuel Sanders and Gabriel Davis to attack WFTs Cover 4. If Del Rio simply keeps his alignment numbers intact, Diggs will do his work against rookie Benjamin St-Juste. Yes, it’s only two games into his career, but BSJ is not off to the best start. He ranks 70th out of 76 qualified outside CBs in YPCS, 70th in FP/CS, 58th in targeted passer rating, and 54th in air yards/coverage snap (AY/CS), informing us that QBs are not hesitating to go right after him.

Judging from the first two weeks, Del Rio has appeared comfortable enough to let the rookie learn on the job against the likes of Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Kenny Golladay. A face off across from Diggs would be DFS gold 💰. Diggs ranks seventh-best over the last three seasons with 0.68 FP/Rt against Cover 1, confiscating 37% of his total yardage, 41% of TDs on only 25% of routes.

Cole Beasley, BUF ($4.8K DK | $5.4K FD) vs. Washington’s Cover 4

The one WR locked into a great spot regardless of the coverage is Cole Beasley. We are seeing something of a trend with defenses kicking their top cover corners into the slot. One of those is Kendall Fuller. But, in Fuller’s case, the shift is a way for WFT to take advantage of Fuller’s plus run defense, and placing him within distance to rush the pocket — Fuller recorded a sack in Week 2. And the top slot WR the last two weeks have combined to register an 18/194/0 receiving line. So, Fuller’s top-20 slot coverage rates are not enough to dismiss Beasley. That’s especially true when you consider “2% Milk,” priced as the WR42/WR61, ranks seventh-best against Cover 4 with 0.55 FPs/route, fifth with 2.80 YPRR, and with the eighth-highest target rate at 26%. And Washington has been generous to wideouts, allowing the seventh-highest FPG.

Terry McLaurin, WAS ($6.9K DK | $7.2K FD) vs. Tre'Davious White, BUF

It appears Terry McLaurin has finally found a QB who can put the ball into his hands. That should be a frightening proposition for defenses hoping to defend Scary Terry. The one metric from Taylor Heinicke’s portfolio that stands out above all others as it relates to McLaurin’s upside: ranking 10th-highest among all QBs during his brief career with 9.44 air yards/attempt. Whatever weaknesses may arise as the dropbacks accumulate, we can be assured that aggressiveness will not be included.

We do need to consider a “small” matter known in these parts as Tre'Davious White. It may be due to fighting through some type of ailment, but White hasn’t actually been the shutdown presence we’ve come to expect. He currently ranks 34th in YPCS, 24th in FP/CS, 32nd in AY/CS, and 27th in targeted passer rating. With it being very unlikely that DC Leslie Frazier utilizes White as a shadow on McLaurin, the two will only face one another on less than half of his routes. F1 McLaurin will work against a top-three rate of Cover 1 and top-seven rate of Cover 4. During his career, McLaurin ranks 26th — 156 qualified WRs — with 0.43 FP/Rt. When opposed by single coverage, McLaurin ranks 23rd with 0.46 FP/Rt. On 25% of career routes, McLaurin has scored 50% of his TDs.

Update: Should Levi Wallace be unable to take the field, McLaurin would receive quite a boost to an already positive outlook. Dane Jackson is also questionable. That would force the Bills into starting Siran Neal on the perimeter 🤤.

Final notes on Washington

It certainly appears that the Taylor Heinicke ($5.6K/$6.8K) experiment is no longer an experiment. He does present as an underpriced GPP option but, until I have more data for his evaluation, I’ll avoid listing him as a direct target. Perhaps no other player this season has disappointed me more than Antonio Gibson ($5.9K/$6.1K) — maybe Najee Harris. All of the camp chatter about Gibson laying claim to the up-tempo role appears to be hot air. But Gibson will have plenty of usefulness this season. Gibson ranks 10th-best during his career with 0.85 FPs/attempt when confronted with a stacked box, and Buffalo has stacked the box at the eighth-highest rate this season. But, fool me once and all of that jazz, I will not recommend him for a third straight week after a pair of under-value duds.

Matt Milano and co. have done well in limiting opposing backfields to the third-fewest receiving FPG (3.8). So I’ll be fading J.D. McKissic ($5.2K/$5.3K) this week. It figures that, just when Washington needs someone to step forward while Curtis Samuel is down, Adam Humphries ($3.7K/$4.9K) simply faceplants with 0.96 YPRR (bottom-25). That will not change vs. Taron Johnson’s top-10 slot corner metrics. It just hasn’t materialized yet for Logan Thomas ($4.7K/$5.7K). But he’s seeing the reps (fourth-most among TEs), air yards (seventh-most), and he’s posted the sixth-highest targeted passer rating (131.3). We just need to see that 11th-rated target share rise a bit. It’s best to wait for a high Cover 3 rate to target Thomas, rather than forcing the issue against Tremaine Edmunds’ top-10 coverage metrics.

Final notes on Buffalo

Lost among the celebration of shutting Miami out 35-0, Zack Moss ($4.7K/$5.4K) bounced back from his one-week healthy scratch detention to emerge as Buffalo’s goal line back. It appears that Devin Singletary ($4.9K/$5.9K) will be featured between the 20s, with Moss pushing the pile inside the red zone — a role with plenty of potential in this Bills’ offense. But a date with Washington’s elite D-line and breakout rookie Jamin Davis put a damper on those expectations. As stated above, if WJ3 is tasked with guarding Diggs, Emmanuel Sanders ($4.2K/$5.2K) and Gabriel Davis ($3.7K/$4.9K) would have plenty of GPP appeal.

Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns

1:00 PM EST

Cleveland, Ohio

FirstEnergy Stadium


Betting Line: Browns -7.0

Over/Under: 45.5

Moneyline: Browns (-350), Bears (+277)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives


WR Andy Dalton (No Practice - OUT - Knee)

WR Darnell Mooney (Limited Practice - Probable - Groin)

WR Marquise Goodwin (Full Practice - Probable - Ankle)

DT Eddie Goldman (Limited Practice - Questionable - Knee)

DT Akiem Hicks (No Practice - Questionable - Illness/Knee)

OLB Jeremiah Attaochu (Limited Practice - Questionable - Hamstring)

S Tashaun Gipson Sr. (No Practice - Questionable - Hamstring)


QB Baker Mayfield (Full Practice - Probable - Non-Throwing Shoulder)

RB/WR Demetric Felton (Limited Practice - Questionable - Hip)

WR Jarvis Landry (No Practice - OUT/IR - Knee)

WR Odell Beckham Jr. (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)

WR Anthony Schwartz (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)

RT Jack Conklin (Limited Practice - Questionable - Knee)

LT Chris Hubbard (No Practice - Doubtful - Triceps)

LT Jedrick Wills Jr. (Limited Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

OG Joel Bitonio (Limited Practice - Questionable - Back)

OC J.C. Tretter (No Practice - Doubtful - Knee)

DE Jadeveon Clowney (Limited Practice - Questionable - Knee)

ILB Malcolm Smith (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)

ILB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (Limited Practice - Questionable - Knee)

ILB Sione Takitaki (No Practice - Doubtful - Hamstring)

ILB Anthony Walker (Limited Practice - OUT/IR - Hamstring)

Matchups to Target

Darnell Mooney, CHI ($4.3K DK | $5.6K FD) vs. Browns’ Cover 3 | 4

The future could be in the present for the Chicago offense. Andy Dalton is week-to-week after bruising a bone in his right knee against Cincinnati in Week 2, Justin Fields will make his first NFL start against a Browns’ defense distributing the third-most FPG to opposing QBs, fourth-most to WRs. In a game matching a pair of 1-1 franchises, the victor could be decided by a single third-down conversion. Cleveland is permitting the highest rate of third-down conversions this season (63%), while the Bears are not very far behind with the fourth-highest (52.2%). But one statistic catching my eye benefiting Darnell Mooney’s prospects: the Browns are allowing the seventh-highest rate of deep completions. In addition, alignment history suggests Mooney will draw the far more lenient coverage of Denzel Ward. And DC Joe Woods is likely to prefer having 6-foot-1 Greg Newsome II working over Allen Robinson II (6-foot-3)

rather than Ward (5-foot-11) as much as possible.

Why do we care? Newsome has limited his coverage to the fourth-fewest YPCS, 10th-fewest FP/CS, and sixth-lowest AY/CS. Whereas Ward ranks 67th, 54th, and 45th in the same categories. Cleveland features top-five rates of Cover 3 and Cover 4. Fields’ arm will rule the day, but Mooney has performed particularly well when facing Cover 4. During his career, Mooney ranks 18th-best in FP/Rt vs. Cover 4. On 8% of career routes, he’s collected 15% of his yardage, and 25% of TDs when facing a four-high. And he’s done so with a 39% increase to his air yards/target and 21% increase in YPRR.

Justin Fields, CHI ($5.2K DK | $6.5K FD) vs. Browns’ Cover 3 | 4

If you’ve watched any tape on Justin Fields, prepare yourself for an extremely high floor that’s simply accomplished by the rookie using his 100th-percentile, 4.46-speed to scramble away from pressure. And he also packs an arm capable of hitting his targets in stride downfield at 60-plus yards. He should’ve connected with AR12 last week for a 35-yard TD, but it went right between his hands. Don’t expect a flawless performance, but he will have no issue whatsoever hitting floor value. And his fantasy ceiling is higher than Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, and Mac Jones due to that elite ability to utilize his legs. It will not even be slightly surprising to see Fields rostered on milly-maker lineups this week at his bargain salaries.

Final notes on Chicago

The best aspect of Fields’ game for the future of David Montgomery ($6.1K/$6.9K) is that his rushing ability is so dangerous when evading pressure that OC Bill Lazor will have little need to include designed runs for him. So Montgomery might not lose many carries to his blazing-fast backfield mate. Fields is the type of QB who keeps his eyes downfield, perhaps, to a fault. Only time will tell how much receiving involvement will be offered to Montgomery. It’s likely best to wait a week before considering Montgomery exposure. As mentioned above, a tough matchup could await Allen Robinson II ($6.2K/$7.0K) this week from zone-phenomenon Greg Newsome II. Fields peppered his TEs this preseason, but I do not trust those scrimmage reps enough to directly recommend Cole Kmet ($3.2K/$4.9K). But Kmet is a low-priced, albeit low-ceiling, stack alternative against a defense surrendering the 12th-most FPG to TEs after two weeks.

Final notes on Cleveland

If you’ve been reading this column each week, then you already know I wait on exposure to Baker Mayfield ($6.0K/$6.8K) until he is facing a Cover 1-heavy defense. The Bears feature the second-highest Cover 6 rate, 12th-lowest of Cover 1. Whether or not Nick Chubb ($7.6K/$7.8K) is 100% healthy after appearing to pick up an ailment last week, Chicago has limited opposing RBs to the fifth-fewest FPG. I’ll also be staying away from Kareem Hunt ($5.6K/$5.6K). Odell Beckham Jr. ($5.3K/$6.5K) might make his long-awaited return from ACL surgery. Even with a large target share expected to await him, I’ll pass outright in a face-off with Jaylon Johnson set up as his first hurdle. His press-zone on the Cover 2-side of Chicago’s Cover 6 has given receivers fits to begin the season.

Now that Jarvis Landry has landed on IR, a target vacuum is ahead between Anthony Schwartz ($3.2K/$4.8K), Donovan Peoples-Jones ($3.0K/$5.5K), and Demetric Felton ($4.5K/$4.8K). Assuming Schwartz sticks on the outside, he’ll face a soft matchup from Kindle Vildor. Just like Mayfield, if we want some DPJ action, it’s best to wait for some Cover 1. It’s highly unlikely they’d show us their hand prior to gametime, but should we learn that Felton is set for a significant workload, Duke Shelley did not show out well last week in his first game this season. They’ll also need to deal with Roquan Smith’s excellent cover skills, but the presence of Shelley could result in solid output for either Austin Hooper ($3.6K/$5.3K) or David Njoku ($3.5K/$5.0K) if OC Alex Van Pelt uses Landry’s injury to feature a multi-TE set.

Baltimore Ravens at Detroit Lions

1:00 PM EST

Detroit, Michigan

Ford Field


Betting Line: Ravens -8.0

Over/Under: 50.5

Moneyline: Ravens (-400), Lions (+31)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives


QB Lamar Jackson (Limited Practice - Probable - Illness)

WR Marquise Brown (Limited Practice - Probable - Ankle)

OT Ronnie Stanley (No Practice - Doubtful - Ankle)

DT Brandon Williams (Limited Practice - Questionable - Neck)

DE Derek Wolfe (No Practice - Doubtful - Back/Hip)

OLB Daelin Hayes (Limited Practice - Questionable - Knee)

CB Tavon Young (Limited Practice - Questionable - Knee)

CB Jimmy Smith (Limited Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

CB Chris Westry (No Practice - OUT/IR - Knee)

S DeShon Elliott (Limited Practice - Probable - Concussion)


RB D’Andre Swift (Limited Practice - Questionable - Groin)

WR Tyrell Williams (No Practice - OUT - Concussion)

WR Kalif Raymond (Limited Practice - Questionable - Thigh)

DE Michael Brockers (Limited Practice - Questionable - Shoulder)

OLB Trey Flowers (No Practice - Doubtful - Shoulder/Knee)

OLB Romeo Okwara (Limited Practice - Questionable - Shoulder)

OLB Julian Okwara (Limited Practice - Questionable - Neck)

ILB Jamie Collins Sr. (No Practice - Questionable - Not Injury Related)

CB Jeffrey Okudah (No Practice - OUT/IR - Achilles)

CB Ifeatu Melifonwu (No Practice - OUT/IR - Thigh)

Matchups to Target

Marquise Brown, BAL ($5.6K DK | $6.6K FD) vs. Bobby Price, DET

After missing the majority of training camp with a hamstring strain, Marquise Brown has flipped the script to propel himself into the WR1 conversation. A good amount of the credit goes to Lamar Jackson for shouldering the heavy burden of leading an offense without both ends of its supremely talented two-headed RB rotation. But none of that in any way discounts the work of Hollywood. He’s currently ranked with the seventh-best FPG among all WRs. He’s also returning the favor of a massive 31% target share with a 125.5 passer rating. We can dive into his coverage success history facing the top-10 rates of Cover 2 and Cover 3, but simply mentioning that he’ll be facing the Lions’ secondary should suffice. Jump all over Brown in Cash this week, as much of the population will be on him at his bargain prices.

Jared Goff, DET ($5.2K DK | $7.1K FD) vs. Ravens’ Cover 0 | 6

Another script-flipper comes to us from the Detroit sideline. Jared Goff has made quite a first impression with his new team. If it continues, perhaps the Lions will consider foregoing a first-round QB in favor of adding desperately needed components to its defense. The next leg of Goff’s opportunity toward proving the job should be his to lose will be as host to Baltimore. After losing Marcus Peters, it seems DC Don Martindale has installed a new scheme rotation to protect his outside corners. We still see the Ravens sending the house without safety help over the top (Cover 0), but they’ve reduced their Cover 1 rate by more than 40%, and shifted every bit of it into the fourth-highest rate of Cover 6.

Another defense that uses a very high rate of Cover 6 is Green Bay. And Goff just went for 20% over value against the Packers on Monday Night Football. As we’ve seen the first two weeks, the only incentive we need for Goff exposure is the ridiculous volume. He leads all QBs with 46.5 passing attempts/game. With that usage, despite ranking 27th with 6.7 air yards/attempt, he still ranks 10th with 311.6 air yards/game. And you can roster Goff on DraftKings (DK) as the QB29 despite averaging the seventh-most FPG.

T.J. Hockenson, DET ($5.2K DK | $6.3K FD) vs. Patrick Queen, BAL

The personnel catalyst for Goff’s promising numbers has been T.J. Hockenson. Detroit coaches told us throughout the preseason that Hock was set for a monster season. He’s averaging the third-most TE FPG (23.2), ranks second in routes/game (44.5), third in target share (22.2%), and third in air yards/game (78.5). Hockenson is averaging 2.7 FPG more than Darren Waller, but costs 30% less on DK, and 15% less on FanDuel (FD). Rostering Travis Kelce will force you to pony up 37% more salary on DK, 26% more on FD. Yet “settling” for T.J. will only leave you with a 12% hit in FPG. The Ravens have permitted 68 points this season, that’s 8 more than the Jaguars. And they are allowing the MOST FPG to opposing TEs (26.7). All-inskis.

Final notes on Baltimore

Lamar Jackson ($7.8K/$8.4K) lit his home field on fire last week against Kansas City. After enduring a Pick-6 by Tyrann Mathieu early in the first quarter and another INT by Mathieu later in the second quarter, he kept his composure to account for three second-half scores during the 36-35 upset. But the Lions are highly unlikely to keep pace with Baltimore’s scoring to justify spending 16/14% of your cap space. Ty’Son Williams ($5.8K/$6.4K) came within a couple feet from reaching the end zone last week. With a clear path to color, a defender poked the ball out of Williams’ hands, and into the waiting arms of Devin Duvernay for six.

It wasn’t the best sign to see Latavius Murray ($5.3K/$5.5K) score on Baltimore’s next goal line carry. It’s a situation that could leave Murray with sneaky FD value at his modest price against a revolting Lions’ run defense. Everyone is on the table as an option against Detroit’s defense. I’ll likely take a GPP stab on Sammy Watkins ($5.5K/$5.7K) in a matchup with Amani Oruwariye, but nothing more. The Lions had the look of a defense that did not have the wherewithal to defend Robert Tonyan on MNF. If not for each of the Big 3 (Kelce-Waller-Hock) finding themselves in their own smash spots, Mark Andrews ($5.0K/$6.0K) would be higher on my list.

Final notes on Detroit

With the emergence of an outside WR providing impact play, the life of the double-digit target share narrative for both Jamaal Williams ($5.1K/$5.6K) and D’Andre Swift ($5.8K/$7.4K) lasted all of one game. Williams is the plodder, Swift the multidimensional option. Swift has the ceiling, but nowhere near deserving of the price in this spot. That outside source of talent, Quintez Cephus ($3.9K/$5.3K), is set to be featured on the perimeter for the second-consecutive game. And he’ll face another defense featuring a Cover 6. We don’t have much in the way of reliable data on Cephus, but we do know he thrives against Cover 2 and Cover 6 — which has Cover 2 infused into a Cover 4. It’s incredibly unlikely that Marlon Humphrey is tasked with shadowing Cephus both due to a lingering back injury and the Ravens needing him to help with Hockenson on the inside. That leaves bottom-30 ranked right corner Anthony Averett responsible for Cephus.

Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans

1:00 PM EST

Nashville, Tennessee

Nissan Stadium


Betting Line: Titans -5.5

Over/Under: 48.0

Moneyline: Colts (-247), Titans (+201)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives


QB Carson Wentz (Limited Practice - Questionable - Ankles)

WR Zach Pascal (Full Practice - Probable - Illness)

WR Paris Campbell (Full Practice - Probable - Abdomen)

OT Braden Smith (No Practice - OUT - Foot)

OG Quenton Nelson (No Practice - Probable - Back)

ILB Darius Leonard (Limited Practice - Probable - Ankle/Illness)

ILB Jordan Glasgow (No Practice - OUT - Concussion)

CB Xavier Rhodes (Full Practice - Probable - Calf)

CB T.J. Carrie (No Practice - Probable - Knee)

FS Julian Blackmon (Full Practice - Probable - Shoulder)


WR A.J. Brown (Full Practice - Probable - Knees)

TE Anthony Firkser (No Practice - OUT - Knee)

OT Taylor Lewan (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)

OT Ty Sambrailo (Full Practice - Probable - Foot)

OG Rodger Saffold III (Full Practice - Probable - Shoulder)

OC Ben Jones (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)

OLB Bud Dupree (No Practice - Questionable - Knee)

OLB Derick Roberson (No Practice - OUT - Groin)

ILB Jayon Brown (Full Practice - Probable - Hamstring)

CB Caleb Farley (No Practice - OUT - Shoulder)

CB Chris Jackson (Full Practice - Probable - Hamstring)

SS Amani Hooker (No Practice - OUT/IR - Foot)

Matchups to Target

Derrick Henry, TEN ($8.6K DK | $9.7K FD) vs. Darius Leonard, IND

You don’t need me to push you on the merits in his direction. You don’t need me to dig into the numbers to try to explain why he is one of the top-four slate-breaking backs in football. But you do need to know that, whenever the Titans are significant Vegas favorites, Derrick Henry should sit at the head of our RB exposure list. Yes, he breaks the bank. Yes, exposure requires surrounding salary considerations. But the results from last week (50.7 FPs) highlight why fading him can devastate your bankroll.

No other NFL back is capable of handling 41 touches one week, without taking a seat to rest his lumps the following week. Tennessee will enter Week 3 as significant favorites independent of Carson Wentz’s status. However, if/when Wentz is ruled out, we do run the risk of the Titans going up big early, and resting their power back. But this Colts’ defense is good enough to keep this one close enough to keep Henry on the clock.

Julio Jones, TEN ($6.5K DK | $6.7K FD) vs. T.J. Carrie, IND

A.J. Brown is clearly playing at less than 100% after offseason surgery in both knees. Julio may not be the picture of health after assembling a string of soft-tissue injuries over the last year-and-a-half, but he’s healthy right now. In the past, when the Titans were set to face a defense featuring a Cover 6, expectations had to be lowered due to its standing as the one coverage weakness of Ryan Tannehill’s, and Brown’s complete lack of understanding in avenues of attack. That changed when they acquired Jones. While Cover 6 is not a scheme against where he’s done his best work, his results are good enough to prevent defenses from squatting in the shell all game.

Assuming Xavier Rhodes will miss Week 3, the alignment percentages inform us that Jones will work across from right corner T.J. Carrie on at least two-thirds of his routes. Carrie currently ranks 75th in YPCS (76 qualified outside CBs), 72nd in FP/CS, 60th in AY/CS, and 60th in targeted passer rating. The Colts feature a Cover 2, Cover 3, and Cover 6. Over the past three seasons, Jones ranks with the 23rd-best FP/Rt vs. Cover 2, 30th-best vs. Cover 6, and the second-best mark vs. Cover 3 (156 qualified WRs). Indianapolis is, on average, utilizing Cover 3 on one-third of defensive snaps. He’ll be Tannehill’s go-to option on Sunday, and for however long it takes for Brown to get up to speed with his health.

Update: With Rhodes returning to the field, the luster is not as strong on Julio in Cash/SE. But he is still a GPP target in a positive schematic matchup.

Michael Pittman Jr., IND ($5.5K DK | $5.6K FD) vs. Jackrabbit Jenkins, TEN

This one goes against the grain. We have nothing in the way of data between Michael Pittman Jr. and Jacob Eason — likely to draw the start if Carson Wentz is ruled out. If Wentz plays, Pittman will be a much more obvious GPP target. With Eason, the knowns are replaced with projection. We do know that Eason found plenty of success against Cover 1 in college. It would be great if the odds of that translating were 50/50, but it’s far less than half. Since Pittman has only scored a single TD during his NFL career, his FP/Rt numbers will seem less appealing until he finds the house a few more times. But he’s still managed to rank 61st with 0.37 FP/Rt when facing Cover 1 during his short career. Tennessee plays Cover 1 at the league’s seventh-highest rate. And he’ll face Jackrabbit Jenkins on at least half of his routes. Jenkins ranks 62nd in YPCS, 66th in FP/CS, 46th in AY/CS, and 59th in targeted passer rating.

Update: Fire up some Pittman!

Final notes on Indianapolis

Jacob Eason ($4.0K/$6.5K) is priced to target on DK, but a big arm will not be enough to stand up to an NFL defense based on his play this preseason. Another week, another opportunity to fade Jonathan Taylor ($6.7K/$7.0K). The O-line has let the team down through two weeks, and things could go from bad to worse if the Eason experiment faceplants. It would make sense for a young, under-experienced QB to get assistance from a back with Nyheim Hines’ ($4.6K/$5.2K) receiving talent. But Eason has an NFL arm able to target every level of the field. It’s unlikely that he’ll check down to his backfield with any regularity. With that in mind, it’s likely to be the Pittman and Zach Pascal ($4.8K/$5.3K) show.

Final notes on Tennessee

Ryan Tannehill ($6.2K/$7.0K) makes plenty of sense. But it’s just too likely that we see King Henry carry this offense on his back after Tennessee builds a lead. Until he either supplies signs that he’s back to 100% or facing a Cover 1-heavy defense, A.J. Brown ($6.5K/$6.8K) is priced too high — particularly on DK — for the risk. Don’t get cute with Chester Rogers ($3.0K/$4.6K). Tannehill is unlikely to air it out with regularity, and he’ll easily be facing the most difficult challenge in Kenny Moore II.

Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs

1:00 PM EST

Kansas City, Missouri

Arrowhead Stadium


Betting Line: Chiefs -7.0

Over/Under: 54.5

Moneyline: Chiefs (-312), Chargers (+248)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives


RB Austin Ekeler (Full Practice - Probable - Ankle)

OT Bryan Bulaga (No Practice - OUT/IR - Back)

OG Matt Feiler (Full Practice - Probable - Ankle)

DT Justin Jones (No Practice - Doubtful - Calf)

DE Joey Bosa (No Practice - Questionable - Foot)

ILB Kenneth Murray (Full Practice - Probable - Ankle)

CB Chris Harris Jr. (No Practice - OUT/IR - Shoulder)

SS Derwin James Jr. (Full Practice - Probable - Toe)


OT Trey Smith (Full Practice - Probable - Wrist)

OC Austin Blythe (Full Practice - Probable - Abdomen)

DT Derrick Nnadi (Full Practice - Probable - Hip)

DT Khalen Saunders (Full Practice - Probable - Glute)

DE Chris Jones (Limited Practice - Questionable - Wrist)

DE Frank Clark (No Practice - Doubtful - Hamstring)

DE Mike Danna (Full Practice - Probable - Groin)

ILB Anthony Hitchens (Full Practice - Probable - Abdomen)

CB Charvarius Ward (No Practice - Questionable - Quadriceps)

CB L’Jarius Sneed (Full Practice - Probable - Quadriceps)

Matchups to Target

Justin Herbert, LAC ($6.5K DK | $7.5K FD) vs. Chiefs’ Cover 2 | 0

The only factor preventing this game from being assigned an implied total of 60-or-more is the Chargers’ defense allowing the seventh-fewest PPG (18). The Chiefs are allowing opposing offenses to score the fifth-highest PPG (32.5), much of which is in an attempt to keep pace with their high-powered attack. Still, we find Justin Herbert priced as the QB7/QB12 in a game where we know with a high degree of certainty that his defense will not limit Kansas City to under 25 points. During the first two weeks, I was all about Keenan Allen. That worked out well after he eclipsed 100 yards in both games. And new OC Joe Lombardi has remained true to his word in getting Mike Williams the ball as his starting flanker (15/173/2 on 22 targets). They are quickly establishing themselves as a formidable WR duo.

In Week 3, Herbert will face the Chiefs’ eighth-highest rate of Cover 2. And KC has permitted the ninth-most FPs to opposing QBs. During his career, Herbert ranks third-best with 0.44 FPs/dropback against Cover 2. He also leads all QBs with a 115.2 Cover 2 Passer Rating, ranks second with a 35% increase in YPA, and has completed over 80% of his attempts. In two career games against these Chiefs, Herbert has averaged 24.8 FPG. A repeat would provide a 22/24% profit since all we need to cover value is 19.5/18.8. We can count on Herbert bringing his A Game to do everything he can to prevent falling to 1-2.

Mike Williams, LAC ($6.4K DK | $6.0K FD) vs. Charvarius Ward, KC

Even after scoring over 18 points (22 DK FPs) in each of his first two games, Mike Williams is still priced as the WR32 on FD. Williams ranks sixth-best over the last 3 seasons with 0.46 FPs/route vs. Cover 2, fueled by the seventh-highest TD rate. He’s currently ninth in PPR scoring (22.2), provided with the second-most target/game (11), 15th-most air yards/game, and providing the 23rd-best targeted passer rating. LAC WRs will face a stiff challenge from KC, but Williams will draw coverage from Charvarius Ward on just under half of his routes. Ward ranks 68th in YPCS (1.85), 61st in FP/CS (0.37), 68th in AY/CS (1.47), and 56th in targeted passer rating (111.6). While still holding plenty of value potential on DK, Williams is a must-own in Cash/Single-Entry (SE) on FD.

Update: News of Ward at less than 100%, at best, or missing entirely on Sunday supplies jet fuel to the Williams flame!

Matchups to Avoid

Tyreek Hill, KC ($8.4K DK | $8.7K FD) vs. Derwin James Jr., LAC

Derwin James Jr. is currently questionable with a toe injury. Without any indication that he’s in danger of missing Week 3, James will present Tyreek Hill with his toughest test of the early season. To get the ball rolling, the last time these teams met with James on the field, Derwin limited Hill to a 2/7/0 line inside his personal coverage. If not for Tyreek breaking free from James’ coverage into that of WILL LB Drue Tranquill’s for a 47-yard gain, the Chargers would’ve held Hill to a 3/14/0 receiving line on four targets.

Since returning from surgery to repair a torn meniscus, James has not missed a beat. He ranks 11th among 29 qualified strong safeties in YPCS (0.60), 17th in FP/CS (0.19), first with -0.075 AY/CS — yes, opposing QBs only dare to target his coverage behind the line of scrimmage, and he’s pressed his coverage — big key toward containing Hill — at the third-highest rate. James may not set out to shadow Hill on Sunday, but we can count on seeing the two work within range of one another on a good number of reps. That’s enough concern for me to move Hill down my list in Week 3 with Tyreek priced as the WR1/WR1.

Update: Derwin James Jr. is expected to play. Downgrade Hill.

Final notes on Los Angeles

Austin Ekeler ($7.2K/$7.0K) is actually inside my top-10 RBs for Week 3. If only his DK salary dipped into the $6Ks. While, on paper, this doesn’t present as much of a smash spot as the first two weeks for Keenan Allen ($6.6K/$6.9K), the potential is always there for him to do better than expected while facing the top-25 coverage of Mike Hughes. You can certainly do much worse than Jared Cook ($3.9K/$5.3K) as a sub-$4K TE option on DK. Keep in mind that he had a TD called back last week against Dallas due to an illegal shift.

Final notes on Kansas City

We all want to add him, but Patrick Mahomes II ($8.2K/$8.7K) is priced about $1K out of my range. I’ve drawn a line in the sand on Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($4.8K/$6.5K). Even facing one of the top-10 most generous run defenses. I’m seriously tired of listening to broadcasters state that “this could be the year” Mecole Hardman ($3.9K/$5.4K) gets involved 😒. If it happens, I’ll adjust. Here is the draw: Travis Kelce ($8.2K/$8.5K). When Tyreek is facing a difficult challenge, that’s the time for a piece of Kelce. And he’ll see a good amount of Kyzir White in coverage, to boot. White ranks 74th among 79 qualified LBs in YPCS, 70th in FP/CS, and 55th in targeted passer rating.

New Orleans Saints at New England Patriots

1:00 PM EST

Foxboro, Massachusetts

Gillette Stadium


Betting Line: Patriots -3.0

Over/Under: 42.5

Moneyline: Patriots (-150), Saints (+128)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives


WR Tre’Quan Smith (No Practice - OUT/IR - Hamstring)

OG Calvin Throckmorton (Limited Practice - Probable - Knee)

OC Erik McCoy (No Practice - OUT - Calf)

DE Marcus Davenport (No Practice - OUT/IR - Shoulder)

DE Tanoh Kpassagnon (Full Practice - Probable - Calf)

OLB Payton Turner (Full Practice - Probable - Elbow)

ILB Pete Werner (Full Practice - Probable - Hamstring)

ILB Kwon Alexander (No Practice - OUT/IR - Elbow)

CB Marshon Lattimore (Full Practice - Probable - Thumb)

CB P.J. Williams (Full Practice - Probable - Back)

SS C.J. Gardner-Johnson (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)


RB Damien Harris (Full Practice - Probable - Finger)

OT Trent Brown (Limited Practice - Questionable - Calf)

OLB Matt Judon (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)

OLB Kyle Van Noy (Full Practice - Probable - Throat)

ILB Josh Uche (Limited Practice - Questionable - Back)

S Adrian Phillips (No Practice - Questionable - Not Injury Related)

Matchups to Avoid

Jameis Winston, NO ($5.6K DK | $6.8K FD) vs. Patriots’ Cover 1 | 3

When Jameis Winston is set to face a defense featuring a Cover 2 or Cover 6, get those chips into the middle of the table. Even if it's a Cover 4-heavy system, it’s still a solid consideration. But the Patriots fail to offer any of Winston’s first three preferences. He’s going to see a massive amount of Cover 1. Enough to make him sick. As in the second-highest rate in the league. Over the last three seasons against Cover 1, he’s posted one-to-one TDs to INTs. When New England does offer Winston another look, it’ll be a Cover 3 at the 11th-highest rate. When Winston’s faced a Cover 3 the last three years, he’s thrown five TDs to 15 INTs. Not the week for your Winston fix.

Nelson Agholor, NE ($4.6K DK | $5.6K FD) vs. Bradley Roby, NO

A shutdown corner made his return from suspension last week. Make sure you’re seated… he’s still a shutdown corner. Over 25 coverage snaps across from D.J. Moore and Terrace Marshall Jr., the WR duo combined to generate a 1/11/0 line on a pair of targets. That equates to the eighth-fewest YPCS, fifth-fewest FP/CS, and achieved using the 10th-highest jam rate. Nelson Agholor was unable to decipher Bryce Hall last week. He’ll have loads of fun with Bradley Roby.

Final notes on New Orleans

The Saints may struggle to hit 20 points this week. The Patriots are limiting opponents to 11.5 PPG (third-best). You’ll still need to spend 16/13% of your cap to roster Alvin Kamara ($8.2K/$8.0K) facing a defense limiting entire opposing offenses to the third-fewest FPG. It didn’t happen the first two weeks for Marquez Callaway ($4.1K/$5.4K). Now he’ll face the owner of the 10th-lowest YPCS, ninth-lowest FP/CS, and eighth-lowest targeted passer rating provided by Jalen Mills. Since it appears nobody plans to step forward to claim the role as WR1 until Michael Thomas returns, Deonte Harris ($3.3K/$5.2K) is as good of a bet as anyone. But we’ll need to wait until after J.C. Jackson is done with him.

Final notes on New England

It may be about as exciting as watching paint dry, but Mac Jones ($5.1K/$6.5K) has been a godsend for James White’s ($4.9K/$5.4K) upside. If anyone possibly thought Kendrick Bourne ($3.4K/$4.7K) would actually do something in return for his three-year, $15 million contract, I’d list him as a straight avoid against Marshon Lattimore or Paulson Adebo. About the very last thing DFS needed was for a single team to sign two promising TEs with decent production on their resumes. Now we’re left with the ghosts of Hunter Henry ($3.7K/$5.0K) and Jonnu Smith ($4.1K/$5.2K).

Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants

1:00 PM EST

East Rutherford, New Jersey

MetLife Field


Betting Line: Giants -3.0

Over/Under: 47.5

Moneyline: Giants (-153), Falcons (+131)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives


WR Russell Gage (No Practice - OUT - Ankle)

WR Frank Darby (No Practice - OUT - Calf)

CB A.J. Terrell (No Practice - OUT - Concussion)


RB Saquon Barkley (Limited Practice - Probable - Knee)

WR Kenny Golladay (Limited Practice - Questionable - Hip)

WR Kadarius Toney (Limited Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

TE Evan Engram (Limited Practice - Questionable - Calf)

TE Kaden Smith (Limited Practice - Probable - Knee)

OG Shane Lemieux (No Practice - OUT/IR - Knee)

OC Nick Gates (No Practice - OUT/IR - Lower Leg)

DT Austin Johnson (Full Practice - Probable - Illness)

OLB Cam Brown (No Practice - OUT - Hamstring)

CB Nate Ebner (Limited Practice - Probable - Quadriceps)

SS Logan Ryan (Limited Practice - Probable - Hamstring)

Matchups to Target

Daniel Jones, NYG ($5.8K DK | $7.4K FD) vs. Falcons’ Cover 2

It’s that time of the month, kiddies. Time for Daniel Jones exposure with some guarantees. A guarantee to face off with the weakest pass rush on the block. A guarantee to play on the same field with the notorious rotating-11 that are so defensive that they’re offensive — the love-child of wizardry DC school graduate Dean Pees. The very one that’s handed over the most FPG (29.1) and pure passing FPG to opposing QBs (25.8).

Side note: in all honesty, the inadequacy of the Falcons’ results is very unfortunate for A.J. Terrell and Isaiah Oliver. The young CBs have turned the corner this season with outstanding metrics across the boards. Like top-10 stuff. But no secondary in the modern era has been able to lock down a team’s passing game for sequences greater than four seconds. Back in my PFF grading days, after four seconds, an O-lineman was no longer responsible for blocking a defender. If the QB takes a sack after that time has elapsed, the responsibility is all on him. A defense simply must have its pass rush get home in no more than four seconds. And the Atlanta pass rush is not getting it done.

The final guarantee is, even with season-ending injuries to center Nick Gates and LG Shane Lemieux from an already bottom-10 O-line, the Dirty Birds’ pass rush will not present a threat. If it were nearly any other team, the entire offense would be set to have a field day. OC Jason Garrett will personally see to it that nobody leaves East Rutherford satisfied. That’s his reason for being. But Jones will still manage to cover value for a third consecutive week during Pees’ farewell tour with Atlanta.

Update: We can upgrade all passing game options with A.J. Terrell ruled out.

Sterling Shepard, NYG ($5.9K DK | $6.4K FD) vs. Isaiah Oliver, ATL

If you watched the very end of the broadcast of NYG’s defeat last Thursday night to WFT, you might have caught a hissy fit showcase starring Kenny Golladay. He might have been able to find a better outlet to express his frustration than bullying a defenseless water cooler, but he was entirely justified for being upset. Danny Dimes may finish a game hitting value, but he’s not taking full advantage of the abilities of his playmakers (i.e., Golladay and Kadarius Toney). That said, he seems to already have a mid-season rapport with Sterling Shepard. Fed with the 11th-highest target share, Shepard ranks eighth with 22.4 FPG, 19th with 0.547 FP/Rt, and 19th with a 129.6 targeted passer rating.

Facing off with the league-leading rate of Cover 2 from Atlanta, Shepard will need to deal with the fine coverage of nickelback Isaiah Oliver. Shepard will shake Oliver just fine while sliding all across the formation. And, even with a pair of excellent games under his belt, Shepard may not see a more optimal scheme fit all season. The next highest coverage rate from the Falcons is Cover 1. And take a guess at the two coverages Shepard has managed to do his finest work: Cover 2 and Cover 1.

Kyle Pitts, ATL ($4.9K/$6.2K) vs. Tae Crowder, NYG

Kyle Pitts has been provided with the opportunities. Now we need to see him capitalize. This is the spot. The Giants are providing TEs with the fifth-most FPG (20.5). And they are allowing the third-highest completion percentage (76%). Pitts has spent 73% of his snaps detached from the line. That alignment will render him the responsibility of Tae Crowder. To date, Crowder’s coverage portfolio includes the 75th-ranked YPCS (79 qualified LBs), 69th-ranked FP/CS, 75th-ranked AY/CS, and 65th-ranked targeted passer rating. All of the stars are aligning for Pitts’ breakout performance.

Final notes on Atlanta

Matt Ryan ($5.4K/$7.1K) did look better last week. But all QBs would be destined to fail when it’s supported by a defense allowing 40 PPG. But, if Jones is a solid matchup play, the same technically applies to Ryan. This is why we can’t have nice things. When Atlanta chose not to draft a RB, it appeared Mike Davis ($5.1K/$5.7K) would be the lead dog on a team perpetually destined for a positive script. That was until Cordarrelle Patterson ($4.6K/$5.9K) crashed the party. Patterson is quite the intriguing GPP option on DK, but those dreams of Davis’ glory appear to be wishful thinking. After two weeks, James Bradberry has indulged a 12/115/2 line that lands him with some head-turning coverage metrics for a corner of his caliber.

But the process demands that we always wager on the talent. Calvin Ridley ($7.0K/$8.1K) is every bit as talented as Bradberry, but will he be able to do enough to justify his salaries?

Final notes on New York

It would be quite fitting to see Saquon Barkley ($5.9K/$6.4K) break out this week. He’s facing the right defense, and his salaries have declined to palatable levels. It’s unfortunate that Kenny Golladay ($5.6K/$5.6K) didn’t do his homework before signing on with New York. Previously playing with Matthew Stafford, Golladay thrived as one of the best in the business against contested coverage. Now that he’s being fed by Danny Boy, it’s become immediately apparent that Jones is unwilling to needle the ball to him the way he prefers. But Golladay will still face the most generous matchup of all Giants’ WRs with Fabian Moreau. We may even see Darius Slayton ($4.6K/$5.4K) doing a little something here if he manages to evade A.J. Terrell.

Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers

1:00 PM EST

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Heinz Field


Betting Line: Steelers -3.0

Over/Under: 43.0

Moneyline: Steelers (-162), Bengals (+138)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives


WR Tee Higgins (Limited Practice - Doubtful - Shoulder)

OG Xavier Su'a-Filo (Limited Practice - Doubtful - Knee)

DT Larry Ogunjobi (Full Practice - Probable - Groin)

CB Darius Phillips (Full Practice - Probable - Thigh)

CB Trae Waynes (Limited Practice - Doubtful - Hamstring)

CB Mike Hilton (Limited Practice - Probable - Chest)

SS Ricardo Allen (No Practice - OUT/IR - Hand)


QB Ben Roethlisberger (Full Practice - Probable - Pectoral)

WR Diontae Johnson (No Practice - OUT - Knee)

TE Eric Ebron (Full Practice - Probable - Hamstring)

DT Carlos Davis (No Practice - OUT - Knee)

DT Tyson Alualu (No Practice - OUT/IR - Ankle)

DE Alex Highsmith (No Practice - OUT - Groin)

OLB T.J. Watt (No Practice - Questionable - Groin)

ILB Devin Bush (Limited Practice - Questionable - Groin)

CB Joe Haden (Full Practice - Probable - Groin)

CB Justin Layne (Full Practice - Probable - Achilles)

Matchups to Target

Ja'Marr Chase, CIN ($5.4K DK | $5.9K FD) vs. James Pierre, PIT

If Tee Higgins is unable to shake his shoulder injury, get ready to fire up a higher percentage of Ja’Marr Chase in your GPPs. Chase has been everything Cincinnati hoped for when they selected him with their first pick. He has supplied 14.1 yards in return for each target sent his way (ninth-best). And his 146.8 targeted passer rating is fifth-best among qualified WRs. We’re a ways off from constructing a reliable coverage chart for Chase so, until then, we need to play the surface matchups. But it’s great to see Chase working all across the offensive formation. With a 24% rate of routes run out of the slot, he will have an opportunity to cash in on Pittsburgh allowing the third-most slot FPG to WRs.

The downside to the Cincinnati offense this week is from the Steelers featuring the two coverages that have given Joe Burrow the most difficulty during his early career: Cover 2 and Cover 3. However, those numbers could improve now that he has Chase injected into the attack. In any case, Chase will align across from James Pierre on just under half of his routes. Pierre, a 2020 UDFA out of Florida, has allowed the 44th-ranked YPCS (1.19), 34th-ranked FP/CS (0.22), and 48th-best targeted passer rating (103.7) among 76 qualified outside CBs.

Matchups to Avoid

Joe Mixon, CIN ($6.3K DK | $6.7K FD) vs. Joe Schobert, PIT

We certainly know HC/play-caller Zac Taylor is going to feed Joe Mixon the rock. Even with Chicago showing no signs of letting up in run defense last week, he still called for 20 handoffs. It’s a noble effort, but a foolhardy approach if it’s a sign of things to come. On the positive side, the Steelers rank with the 10th-highest rate of stacking the box. And Mixon has been better this season when facing stacked boxes. On the flip side, Pittsburgh has limited opposing RBs to the fourth-fewest FPG this season. Mixon will have an avenue of attack through the air, but the 15% target share he was provided in Week 1 declined to 7% last week.

Najee Harris, PIT ($6.6K DK | $7.5K FD) vs. Logan Wilson, CIN

The prospects are no better for the run game on the other side of the ball. The struggles of Ben Roethlisberger have resulted in defenses nearly eliminating the Steelers’ ground game. Pittsburgh ranks dead last with an average of only 57 total rushing YPG. Lacking a ground game and the ability to attack downfield, it’s no surprise to see Pittsburgh averaging the eighth-fewest PPG (20). And that rough sledding will not see any signs of letting up against a Bengals’ defense locking up opposing backfields to the eighth-fewest FPG. Offering the same path to production as for Mixon, Cincy’s defense has been vulnerable to RBs through the air with the 11th-most pure receiving FPG surrendered. That offers nowhere near the amount of upside I expect to justify investing RB9/RB8 dollars.

Final notes on Cincinnati

Watching Joe Burrow ($5.5K/$6.7K) throw INTs on three consecutive attempts was eye-opening, but Burrow nearly led the Bengals on a late comeback with a pair of scoring strikes in the closing minutes. Miscues are a part of the game. Certainly not three, definitely not on consecutive plays. But it benefits the entire NFL to have a healthy Burrow back on the field. Just as with Chase, Tyler Boyd’s ($4.7K/$5.6K) would also be elevated if Higgins sits. It kinda, sorta appears the Steelers have settled on Cameron Sutton in the slot. He’s been far from a lockdown corner, leaving plenty of space for Boyd to work. If Tee Higgins ($5.1K/$6.2K) does take the field on Sunday, he would face the most difficult challenge if Joe Haden is himself able to shake off an injury. It would be a cause for stack-action if each of T.J. Watt, Devin Bush, Haden, and Higgins are ruled out.

Final notes on Pittsburgh

I have no idea who is occupying Ben Roethlisberger’s ($5.7K/$6.9K) body, but I know it’s not the same QB that’s assembled an eventual Hall of Fame career in Pittsburgh. The Big Ben we know is the very best at manipulating the blitz to his advantage, distributing the ball without a hitch in his motion when under pressure. But seeing the version of the man rank toward the very bottom of all QBs in passer rating when under pressure could be a clear indication that Roethlisberger’s NFL days may be coming to an end.

And, as a result, Chase Claypool ($5.8K/$5.8K) is being criminally underutilized, possibly continuing for the foreseeable future. As outrageous as it may seem, it may be in Pittsburgh’s best interests if Roethlisberger is forced to miss Week 3 and beyond so they can see if Mason Rudolph ($4.8K/$6.1K) has learned any new tricks. Perhaps we’ll finally see Claypool get going if Diontae Johnson ($6.4K/$7.0K) is unable to play this week. But, knowing Roethlisberger, he’d be just as likely to pepper JuJu Smith-Schuster ($6.0K/$6.1K) with a massive target share in return for a yards/target rank (60th) nearly as empty as Diontae’s (68th).

Update: Chase Claypool SZN!

Arizona Cardinals at Jacksonville Jaguars

1:00 PM EST

Jacksonville, Florida

TIAA Bank Field


Betting Line: Cardinals -7.5

Over/Under: 51.5

Moneyline: Cardinals (-372), Jaguars (+293)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives


WR DeAndre Hopkins (Limited Practice - Questionable - Ribs)

OT Kelvin Beachum (Limited Practice - Questionable - Ribs)

OG Justin Pugh (Full Practice - Probable - Shoulder)

OLB Devon Kennard (Limited Practice - Questionable - Hamstring)

CB Byron Murphy Jr. (Limited Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

CB Marco Wilson (Limited Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

SS Charles Washington (Full Practice - Probable - Thigh)


TE James O’Shaughnessy (No Practice - OUT/IR - Ankle)

OG A.J. Cann (Limited Practice - Probable - Hamstring)

OC Brandon Linder (Limited Practice - Probable - Back)

DT Roy Robertson-Harris (Limited Practice - Probable - Ankle)

OLB Lerentee McCray (Limited Practice - Probable - Hamstring)

OLB Jordan Smith (Limited Practice - Probable - Knee)

CB C.J. Henderson (Limited Practice - Probable - Groin)

CB Tre Herndon (No Practice - OUT - Knee)

CB Tyson Campbell (Full Practice - Probable - Calf)

Matchups to Target

Marvin Jones Jr., JAX ($4.9K DK | $6.3K FD) vs. Robert Alford, ARI

As anticipated upon learning Marvin Jones Jr. would be reuniting with his OC from Detroit (Darrell Bevell), Jones has quickly ascended toward becoming Trevor Lawrence’s go-to receiver. And it appears we will be able to count on the Jaguars falling significantly behind on a weekly basis. The run game did appear to take positive steps in Week 2, but the passing offense took reciprocal steps backwards. However, Jones’ involvement overcame that regression and a difficult coverage defense provided by Denver. For a $4.9K investment on DK, Jones provides the 12th-most routes/game (40.5), 10th-most targets/game (9.5), and third-most air yards/game (143). Seeing his TD extended to three would certainly be welcomed, but Jones has elevated his floor to a comforting level.

Rondale Moore, ARI ($5.0K DK | $5.6K FD) vs. Chris Claybrooks, JAX

It’s very important to represent the fact that Rondale Moore accumulated 68% of his Week 2 receiving total and his first career TD on a single busted coverage — 77-of-114 yards. But that play speaks to the game-changing speed of Moore. And you simply cannot fake your way to a 24% target share. If Moore is going to receive anything close to that type of volume, we need to take advantage while we can. DeAndre Hopkins is dealing with bruised ribs, so he may not play any deeper than needed until Arizona manages to build a comfortable lead over the Jags. So we may see that volume continue this week, at least.

Since Moore works as the second-slot within the Cardinals’ 10 personnel, he will be the responsibility of the Jags’ dime corner, Chris Claybrooks. And the 2021 season has not been kind to Claybrooks heading into a game where he’ll likely see the field on twice as many snaps as he’s accumulated over the first two weeks. Claybrooks has permitted 5.07 YPCS, 0.77 FP/CS, 1.83 AY/CS, and a 118.8 targeted passer rating. It’s possible Jacksonville juggles the roster to bring in another corner to fill the dime role, but we can only project what we have in front of us. And what we have is telling us the entire Arizona offense, Moore included, will find themselves in a prime spot for production.

Final notes on Arizona

It should be entirely clear that the Kyler Murray ($8.3K/$9.0K) for MVP narrative is legit. Another backfield with hopes of value, another disappointment. Be that as it may, if Chase Edmonds ($5.7K/$6.6K) is going to do it, this is the game. James Conner ($5.0K/$5.3K) should be limited to FD’s 0.5 PPR format. DeAndre Hopkins ($8.2K/$8.5K) could always go nuclear with C.J. Henderson in coverage, but we would need Jacksonville to keep pace with Arizona’s scoring. Highly unlikely. An investment in Christian Kirk ($5.4K/$5.7K) finding success inside Tyson Campbell’s coverage is far more reasonable. Trust in A.J. Green ($4.5K/$5.5K) at your own risk. He is more of a coach on the field for the Cardinals’ younger WRs at this stage in his career.

Final notes on Jacksonville

Brighter days ahead for Trevor Lawrence ($5.5K/$6.6K). And it’s difficult not to like his playstyle. He’s transplanted the same approach he used at Clemson. The only component he lacks is experience. He is well on his way toward becoming a special player. Arizona’s mix of exotic coverage schemes will be a bit too much for him at this point in his development. James Robinson ($5.7K/$5.5K) and the O-line looked better this past week. And seeing Carlos Hyde ($4.0K/$5.1K) in a change-of-pace role settled the masses. There’s no question that DJ Chark Jr. ($5.3K/$5.8K) and Laviska Shenault Jr. ($4.4K/$5.4K) possess the athleticism they’ll need to succeed at this level. As Lawrence develops, we will see them emerge as consistent threats.

Miami Dolphins at Las Vegas Raiders

4:05 PM EST

Las Vegas, Nevada

Allegiant Stadium


Betting Line: Raiders -3.5

Over/Under: 44.0

Moneyline: Raiders (-195), Dolphins (+163)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives


QB Tua Tagovailoa (No Practice - OUT - Ribs)

WR DeVante Parker (Full Practice - Probable - Shoulder)

WR Jakeem Grant Sr. (Full Practice - Probable - Ankle)

WR Preston Williams (Full Practice - Probable - Foot)

OT Jesse Davis (Limited Practice - Probable - Knee)

DT Raekwon Davis (Limited Practice - OUT/IR - Knee)

DE Emmanuel Ogbah (Full Practice - Probable - KGroinnee)


QB Derek Carr (Full Practice - Probable - Ankle)

QB Marcus Mariota (No Practice - OUT/IR - Quad)

RB Josh Jacobs (No Practice - Doubtful - Toe/Ankle)

OG Richie Incognito (No Practice - OUT - Calf)

DT Gerald McCoy (No Practice - OUT/IR - Knee)

DT Johnathan Hankins (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)

DT Darius Philon (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)

DE Yannick Ngakoue (Full Practice - Probable - Hamstring)

DE Clelin Ferrell (Full Practice - Probable - Back)

DE Carl Nassib (Full Practice - Probable - Pectoral)

ILB Denzel Perryman (Full Practice - Probable - Hip)

ILB Nick Kwiatkowski (Full Practice - Probable - Concussion)

ILB Devine Diablo (Full Practice - Probable - Ankle)

FS Roderic Teamer (No Practice - OUT - Ankle)

FS Dallin Leavitt (No Practice - OUT - Concussion)

Matchups to Target

Jacoby Brissett, MIA ($4.9K DK | $6.7K FD) vs. Raiders’ Cover 3

I’ve actually been hoping Tua Tagovailoa would sit out the week in order for Jacoby Brissett to face the Raiders. With the Las Vegas defense, it’s all about Cover 3. They rank with the highest rate in the league at 62%. And Brissett ranks with the ninth-most FP/Db over the previous three seasons. That rate also includes the 12th-highest passer rating, and a 19% increase to both his YPA and air yards/attempt.

Jaylen Waddle, MIA ($4.6K DK | $5.5K FD) vs. Nate Hobbs, LV

We need to collect a lot more data on Jaylen Waddle before we can piece together his profile. Waddle has already emerged with a target share of 18% toward producing 13 FPG. And he’s returned that target trust with a 132.3 targeted passer rating. Week 3 will be the first time Waddle, DeVante Parker, and Will Fuller V take the field together. A strong outing from Brissett could provide some value for one-or-more of Miami’s wideouts.

Derek Carr, LV ($5.9K DK | $7.2K FD) vs. Dolphins’ Cover 1 | 0

Derek Carr took another step toward consideration among the top-10 fantasy QBs. With Week 15 from last season removed from the calculations when Carr was forced out on Las Vegas’ second drive due to a groin injury, over Carr’s last six games, he’s averaged 370.2 passing yards, a pair of TDs, and 24.4 FPG. While those numbers may not be bracket-busters, priced as the QB15 on both platforms, that 24.4 FPG average provides 27/26% in excess of floor value. Carr provides the exact type of reliability that we want from our QB in Cash/SE. And one of those games (Week 16) was against this Dolphins’ defense when Carr came away with 23.3 FPs.

Darren Waller, LV ($7.4K DK | $7.4K FD) vs. Eric Rowe, MIA

Should Henry Ruggs III or Bryan Edwards emerge as an outside threat, Waller will take that final step up to Travis Kelce territory. That’s not to say Waller hasn’t already established himself as the unquestioned TE2. Just that he needs a wideout drawing some of the considerable attention he’s collecting away in order to hit that next level. Tracing back to that same Week 13 game when Carr kicked his play into high gear, it comes as no surprise to see that was the precise turning point for Waller, as well. Since that game, Waller has averaged a massive 27.8 FPG. He didn’t get into the end zone, but Waller still managed a 5/112/0 line on five targets — 18.7/16.2 FPs — inside the coverage of Eric Rowe in Week 16. That production did fall 15% under floor value, but I am anticipating Waller will see more looks from Carr toward exceeding value without Nelson Agholor in the picture to post his 5/155/1 line.

Matchups to Avoid

Henry Ruggs III, LV ($5.2K DK | $5.6K FD) vs. Xavien Howard, MIA

Nothing much to explain here beyond the obvious. Henry Ruggs III is still gaining experience, Xavien Howard is one of the top-three corners in the game. When these teams met in Week 16 last season, Howard shadowed Ruggs on all 29 of his routes. He was targeted twice, both resulting in pass deflections. Expecting anything different this time around would be unwise.

Final notes on Miami

After so much optimism heading into the season, it seems Miami will be forced to wait another season to make a run at the playoffs. The most surprising of their struggles is suddenly seeing their run defense crumble towards allowing the seventh-most FPG to opposing backfields. Allowing the opposition to control the clock has been a death sentence to Myles Gaskin’s ($5.4K/$5.9K) upside. Will Fuller V ($4.7K/$5.5K) will draw a disgusting matchup from Casey Hayward Jr. in his first game since returning from suspension. Hayward has not permitted a single yard or FP on 76 coverage snaps, resulting in the same targeted passer rating for a spike (39.6). It’ll be DeVante Parker ($5.4K/$5.7K) that draws the luxurious matchup across from Trayvon Mullen. Let’s just say Mullen ranks among the bottom-12 outside corners in each of the most important coverage metrics.

Final notes on Las Vegas

Josh Jacobs ($6.2K/$7.2K) is not expected to make his return this Sunday. His absence would provide Kenyan Drake ($5.5K/$5.7K) with a far better opportunity for production than facing Pittsburgh last week. It’s always possible that Peyton Barber ($4.3K/$5.6K) plows his way into the end zone this week. Just limit your exposure to FD. Byron Jones was plastered with Nelson Agholor’s 5/155/1 line last season. He’s likely to spend his time covering Bryan Edwards ($3.8K/$5.1K) this week. It’ll be an opportunity for Edwards to showcase his development level with Howard locking down Ruggs.

New York Jets at Denver Broncos

4:05 PM EST

Denver, Colorado

Mile High Stadium


Betting Line: Broncos -10.5

Over/Under: 41.5

Moneyline: Broncos (-600), Jets (+431)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives


QB Zach Wilson (Full Practice - Probable - Groin)

RB Tevin Coleman (No Practice - OUT - Illness)

WR Jamison Crowder (No Practice - Doubtful - Groin)

OT Mekhi Becton (No Practice - OUT/IR - Knee)

DE John Franklin-Myers (Full Practice - Questionable - Calf)

ILB Jamien Sherwood (No Practice - Questionable - Ankle)


WR Jerry Jeudy (No Practice - OUT/IR - Ankle)

WR Courtland Sutton (Full Practice - Probable - Hip)

WR Tim Patrick (Full Practice - Probable - Hip)

TE Noah Fant (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)

OG Graham Glasgow (No Practice - Questionable - Illness)

DT Shamar Stephen (Full Practice - Probable - Back)

DT Mike Purcell (Limited Practice - Questionable - Knee)

DE Shelby Harris (Full Practice - Probable - Wrist)

OLB Bradley Chubb (Limited Practice - OUT/IR - Ankle)

ILB Josey Jewell (No Practice - OUT/IR - Pectoral)

CB Ronald Darby (No Practice - OUT/IR - Hamstring)

Matchups to Target

Teddy Bridgewater, DEN ($5.8K DK | $7.3K FD) vs. Jets’ Cover 1

You might’ve noticed just how good Teddy Bridgewater looked/played in Week 2 against Jacksonville. If that sight boggled your mind, don’t be concerned, there is a method to explain that madness. The first factor working in Bridgewater’s favor is having the support of a playoff-ready Broncos’ defense. Very likely the best defense “Tuddie” has played with since his Minnesota days. But the comfort provided by a defense can only extend so far. Second, it certainly didn’t hurt to be facing the Jaguars in full rebuild mode, or however you want to describe what’s going down in J-ville.

The factor that actually accounted for most of that success can be tracked to Bridgewater’s Cover 1 pwnage. Over the last three seasons, Bridgewater ranks second-best among 59 qualified QBs with 0.56 FP/dropback vs. Cover 1. On 21% of those dropbacks, he’s thrown 45% of his TDs when facing a single-high shell. The Jags have employed a Cover 1 at the league’s fifth-highest rate through two weeks. Bridgewater and the Broncos will host the Jets on Sunday. New York will pack the sixth-highest rate of Cover 1 along for the trip. Teddy hit at more than a 30% profit last week. I’ll be on Bridgewater on both platforms as the QB17/QB14, but he is an outstanding value on DK this week.

Courtland Sutton, DEN ($6.0K DK | $6.9K FD) vs. Brandin Echols, NYJ

The coverage history numbers for Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick, and Noah Fant need some work. That’s especially true for their Cover 1 production. That actually makes sense after working with two of the worst Cover 1 QBs in the NFL over the last three seasons with Case Keenum (2018) and Drew Lock (2019-20). But those numbers will be on the rise with Bridgewater and his 6.5 TD-INT ratio vs. Cover 1 in town. Sutton still managed to post 2.13 YPRR at a 25% single-high target rate while playing with Keenum and Lock. It’s best to take care when viewing the FPG allowed numbers for the NYJ defense. Neither Sam Darnold nor Mac Jones — the QBs they faced thus far — offer anything resembling Bridgewater’s Cover 1 excellence.

Given Sutton and Patrick are given the green light in their recovery from bruised hips, Patrick (6-foot-5) is likely to work across from Bryce Hall (6-foot-1) due to the alignment percentages and Hall’s size. That leaves ‘21 sixth-rounder Brandin Echols (5-foot-11) drawing the responsibility for covering Sutton (6-foot-3). Echols takes an aggressive press-man approach, posting the 20th-fewest YPCS, 20th-fewest FP/CS, 22nd-lowest AY/CS, and 28th-lowest targeted passer rating. Certainly a far cry from consideration as a coverage liability. But Echols will have his hands full at 178 pounds, trying to jam the 218-pound Sutton at the line. And forcing Sutton to stray early from his route is the key to this matchup for Echols. If he’s unable to consistently find that success, those coverage rates will undergo a makeover. Sutton should have little difficulty using his 40-pound advantage to separate from Echols for a stack-worthy performance.

Final notes on New York

At least Zach Wilson ($5.0K/$6.5K) has remained intact after two weeks. If he can stay in one piece by the end of the season, it should be considered a victory for the Jets. I have zero interest in New York’s three-headed rotation of Michael Carter ($4.6K/$4.9K), Tevin Coleman ($4.5K/$4.8K), and Ty Johnson ($4.3K/$5.1K). I suppose Corey Davis ($5.0K/$5.9K) does have some potential this week vs. Patrick Surtain II. Elijah Moore ($3.8K/$5.1K) has managed to piece together a 12.5 targeted passer rating. It’s certainly not going to get any easier while dealing with Kyle Fuller. It sounds as though Jamison Crowder ($4.5K/$5.5K) is unlikely to play after suffering a setback with his groin injury.

Update: This could be the opportunity Michael Carter needed to take over the backfield. Just make sure you stick to GPPs this week.

Braxton Berrios ($3.9K/$4.9K) deserves some props, as he leads all Jets’ receivers with 12 receptions and 124 yards on 15 targets. He’ll hit the proverbial wall this week inside the coverage of Bryce Callahan. I get the logic of keeping Jeff Smith ($3.0K/$4.5K) active to return kicks, but you’ll never convince me that having Keelan Cole Jr. ($3.0K/$4.5K) active on Sunday’s instead of Denzel Mims ($3.0K/$4.8K) is level-headed thinking. If nothing else, put the kid on the field so he can showcase his talents to lure in suitors. On 10 routes, Cole…. literally did nothing. On three routes, Mims pulled in a 40-yard reception.

Final notes on Denver

I guess this is another week where Melvin Gordon III ($5.5K/$6.0K) and/or Javonte Williams ($4.9K/$5.8K) could come into some value. Not in my lineups. My hands have been washed on that timeshare. Tim Patrick ($4.9K/$5.9K) has been hot, let’s see if Bryce Hall’s numbers hold up. KJ Hamler ($3.6K/$5.2K) has yet to produce. He’ll face off with ‘21 fifth-rounder Michael Carter II, who’s emerged with Echols as Day 1 starters. A stack pivot to Noah Fant ($4.8K/$6.1K) makes a little sense. He will be opposed in coverage by Quincy Williams, but Fant just hasn’t seen the type of volume that will get me out of bed.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Los Angeles Rams

4:25 PM EST

Inglewood, California

SoFi Stadium


Betting Line: Buccaneers -1.0

Over/Under: 55.5

Moneyline: Buccaneers (-126), Rams (+105)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives


WR Antonio Brown (No Practice - Questionable - COVID-19)

WR Jaydon Mickens (No Practice - OUT - Abdomen)

CB Carlton Davis II (Limited Practice - Questionable - Abdomen/Ribs)

CB Sean Murphy-Bunting (No Practice - OUT/IR - Elbow)


RB Darrell Henderson Jr. (Limited Practice - Questionable - Ribs)

TE Jacob Harris (No Practice - Questionable - Hips)

DT A’Shawn Robinson (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)

DT Sebastian Joseph-Day (Limited Practice - Questionable - Knee)

DE Leonard Floyd (Full Practice - Probable - Ankle)

CB Darious Williams (No Practice - Probable - Illness)

Matchups to Target

Matthew Stafford, LAR ($6.4K DK | $7.6K FD) vs. Buccaneers’ Cover 2 | 4

First-and-foremost, Matthew Stafford is entirely free of any coverage vulnerabilities. It makes me wonder what Stafford would have achieved if he had been drafted by a different franchise. Tampa Bay DC Todd Bowles has concentrated his coverage rotation down to featuring the sixth-highest rate of Cover 2 and fifth-highest rate of Cover 4. Over the last three seasons, Stafford ranks fifth-best with 0.41 FP/Db vs. Cover 2 and 10th-best with 0.36 FP/Rt vs. Cover 4 among all qualified QBs. Against Cover 2, Stafford has posted the eighth-best passer rating (104.8), with the fifth-highest TD rate, and without throwing a single INT. He’s submitted the 10th-highest TD rate and 17th-best passer rating when facing a Cover 4. The Bucs’ defense is allowing the fifth-highest completion percentage (73%), sixth-highest third down conversion rate (46.9%), and the seventh-most pure passing FPG to QBs.

Cooper Kupp, LAR ($6.8K DK | $7.9K FD) vs. Ross Cockrell, GB

Yes, Tampa Bay will continue to be without nickelback Sean Murphy-Bunting. But it would be a mistake to assume that the Buccaneers pivoting to Ross Cockrell presents a massive downgrade. Cockrell gave Tampa Bay a hometown discount when he re-upped his contract over the offseason. He would have been a hot commodity on the open market. During the ‘20 season, Cockrell offered the third-fewest YPCS, second-fewest FP/CS, and the 16th-lowest AY/CS. With all of that in mind, his play thus far has fallen well below those expectations. He ended up on the hook for 5/56/1 of Amari Cooper’s Week 1 line, and was responsible for 2/17/1 of Calvin Ridley’s line last week.

This is not the spot where the Buccaneers need Cockrell to bring struggles into the equation. This game could have tie-breaking implications down the road. And Cockrell will be expected to defend, arguably, the hottest WR in the NFL through two weeks. Kupp currently ranks first-overall with 33.3 FPG, 1.036 FP/Rt, with a 38% target share, and he’s been on the field for every single passing snap for Los Angeles. It’s a big deal that Kupp ranks 13th-best with 13.6 YPT in conjunction with the highest target share.

Matchups to Avoid

Tom Brady, TB ($6.8K DK | $7.9K FD) vs. Rams’ Cover 3 | 4 | 6

Perhaps you’ll disagree with the idea of presenting matchup-based evidence toward downgrading the GOAT. I follow a process. It may not hit on the actual results 100%, or even 80% of the time. But I know that when I follow it to the letter, without a single bias, I will be get the results I am seeking at a far greater rate than not. When these teams met in Week 11 last season, Tom Brady completed 54.2% of his attempts for 216 yards, two TDs, and two INTs. He only averaged 4.5 YPA and his day resulted in a 62.5 passer rating.

The Rams feature the fifth-highest rate of Cover 6, ninth-highest rate of Cover 4, and sixth-highest rate of Cover 3. Over the last three seasons against Cover 6, Brady’s FP/Db average declines by 36%, passer rating by 28%, and he has a 1:1 TD:INT ratio. When facing Cover 4 over that same time, his FP/Db drops by 40%, his passer rating by 19%, and he’s thrown four TDs compared with seven INTs. Brady will have an opportunity to attack on one-third of the snaps when LAR is in a Cover 3. He ranks 17th with 0.39 FP/Db, 16th with a 94.9 passer rating, but has only connected for 8% of his total TDs on 21% of dropbacks.

Chris Godwin, TB ($6.1K DK | $7.3K FD) vs. Jalen Ramsey, LAR

During that Week 11 showdown, Jalen Ramsey shadowed Mike Evans. Brady attempted eight passes into Ramsey’s coverage. He came away with a 4/40/0 line and 5.0 YPA for his efforts. Ramsey played just under 80% of his snaps on the outside last season. He only ventured to work more than five snaps from the slot on four occasions.

  • Week 4: Ramsey shadowed Golden Tate (25)

  • Week 6: Ramsey trailed Deebo Samuel (14)

  • Week 12: Ramsey attempted to play through an illness, but did not return to the field after halftime (17)

  • Week 15: Ramsey shadowed Jamison Crowder (7)

Just when we thought we had a handle on the alignment strategy for the top cover corner in the NFL, he decided to alter that approach. Instead of planting himself on the outside when not actively tailing a receiver, Ramsey has relocated his home into the slot. And the pattern is contagious. Kendall Fuller is now doing his work from the slot for Washington, and Jaire Alexander has also kicked inside, allowing ‘21 first-rounder Eric Stokes to enter the starting lineup.

Two games into the season, when Ramsey isn’t giving the glove treatment to slot WRs, he’s punishing the bigger WRs who typically align outside for dropping inside. At the end of the day, Ramsey is removing OCs attempts at creating mismatches on the inside. He is still aligning outside when offenses only field the typical X and Z. But this is a pattern that could spread like wildfire league-wide before most of the population even realizes it’s happening.

For those who are not yet indoctrinated in the real world, Ignacio is here to pass along a friendly reminder:

For Week 3, Chris Godwin is in trouble. He’s not in danger of being completely shut out, but it’s a near guarantee that he fails to hit value.

Final notes on Tampa Bay

If you were able to translate anything of value from the Leonard Fournette ($5.0K/$5.8K) is the preferred blitz-pickup coach-speak over Ronald Jones II ($4.8K/$5.0K), I’m impressed. This is likely to be a clear situation to avoid. And, yes, that also includes Giovani Bernard ($4.2K/$4.6K). If nothing else, at least Mike Evans ($6.3K/$7.1K)is most likely free of a Ramsey shadow. But it appears the Rams now have David Long Jr. drinking the same Ramsey Kool-Aid that resulted in Darious Williams becoming a top-15 outside corner. The Bucs did have a wild card up their sleeve until Antonio Brown ($5.2K/$6.0K) was placed on the COVID-19 list. It’s likely that Rob Gronkowski ($5.5K/$6.5K) absorbs at least a couple of Brown’s targets. But we’ll also likely see Scotty Miller ($3.1K/$4.8K) get involved.

Final notes on Los Angeles

Due to the Buccaneers allowing the third-most receiving FPG to RBs (17.9), we may actually see Darrell Henderson Jr. ($5.9K/$6.3K) surrender any up-tempo snaps to Sony Michel ($4.9K/$5.7K) as the superior receiver, even if Henderson (ribs) is able to play. One of the major storylines we need to track for this game is the status of Carlton Davis. Davis fought through a bum hamstring last week, but ended up taking the field against the Falcons. He then left the game briefly before returning to play the majority of the snaps. If Davis puts in a healthy week of practice, it’ll be a little more difficult to trust Robert Woods ($5.7K/$6.1K) providing much in excess over value. If you’re looking for a super-sneaky GPP dart, look no further than Van Jefferson Jr. ($3.4K/$4.9K). It’s actually to the benefit of keeping Jefferson’s ownership at rock bottom that he followed his 2/80/1 line up with a 1/14/0 dud last week. And we should never forget about Tyler Higbee ($4.0K/$5.5K). He ranks with the fourth-highest FP/Rt the last three seasons vs. Cover 2.

Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings

4:25 PM EST

Minneapolis, Minnesota

U.S. Bank Stadium


Betting Line: Seahawks -2.0

Over/Under: 55.0

Moneyline: Seahawks (-128), Vikings (+108)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives


RB Rashaad Penny (No Practice - OUT - Calf)

WR D’Wayne Eskridge (No Practice - OUT - Concussion)

WR Freddie Swain (Full Practice - Probable - Back)

WR Penny Hart (Full Practice - Probable - Concussion)

OT Jamarco Jones (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)

OT Brandon Shell (No Practice - OUT - Ankle)

OG Damien Lewis (Full Practice - Probable - Groin)

OC Ethan Pocic (No Practice - OUT/IR - Knee)

DT Poona Ford (Full Practice - Probable - Shoulder)

DT Bryan Mone (Full Practice - Probable - Elbow)

CB Sidney Jones IV (Full Practice - Probable - Groin)

CB D.J. Reed (Full Practice - Probable - Foot)

FS Marquise Blair (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)


RB Dalvin Cook (No Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

LT Christian Darrisaw (Limited Practice - OUT - Groin)

DE Everson Griffen (Full Practice - Probable - Concussion)

ILB Eric Kendricks (Full Practice - Probable - Hip)

ILB Anthony Barr (Limited Practice - OUT - Knee)

ILB Nick Vigil (Full Practice - Probable - Ankle)

CB Patrick Peterson (Full Practice - Probable - Toe)

CB Bashaud Breeland (Full Practice - Probable - Back)

CB Harrison Hand (No Practice - OUT - Hamstring)

Matchups to Target

Chris Carson, SEA ($6.4K DK | $7.7K FD) vs. Nick Vigil, MIN

The Vikings have stacked the box at the fifth-highest rate over the last three seasons. During that same stretch, Chris Carson ranks with the fifth-highest FP/attempt (1.72) when working against a stacked box. And he’s generated 3.87 yards after contact/attempt (fourth-highest) against stacked fronts. While the numbers tell us that Minnesota’s defense is warranting the 11th-most pure rushing FPG to RBs, those numbers are tainted after facing the anemic rushing attack of Arizona. The Vikings permitted Joe Mixon to pace all RBs with 28 FPs in Week 1. That result represents the potential of Carson vs. Minnesota. The third-highest elusive rating informs us that Carson is at the top of his game. Since he’s the dedicated goal line back, we just want to see that 14% target share return from Week 1 to assemble a full collection of optimal factors in his favor.

Tyler Lockett, SEA ($7.4K DK | $8.0K FD) vs. Bashaud Breeland, MIN

It’s not the greatest time for Minnesota to list Bashaud Breeland (toe) and Patrick Peterson (back) on the injury report. But it’s pretty safe to assume that they will have both on Sunday. Peterson has quite a history of shadowing DK Metcalf. So Breeland is very likely going to be the responsible party for Tyler Lockett. Yes, Lockett is coming off back-to-back WR1 performances (31.9 FPG). But this Lockett recommendation is not an attempt to tail those points. The points I’m attempting to tail were recorded in a pair of matchups from last season. In Week 7, Peterson held Metcalf to a 2/23/0 line (4.3 FPs). Lockett proceeded to go ballistic with 15/200/3 (53 FPs). Seattle and Arizona met up again in Week 11. Metcalf managed to produce a 3/46/1 line (13.6 FPs) against Peterson, but Lockett was, once again, Russell Wilson’s go-to-guy with a 9/67/1 line (21.7 FPs).

Matchups to Avoid

DK Metcalf, SEA ($7.3K DK | $7.3K FD) vs. Patrick Peterson, MIN

Since I’ve already revealed the prestige of this matchup, I’ll keep it brief. DK Metcalf managed to average only 9 FPs in two games across from Patrick Peterson last season. Peterson is simply not prone/intimidated by Metcalf’s physicality. He possesses the size and speed that pairs extremely well with Metcalf’s strengths. That said, Peterson is playing in his Age 31 season. Whereas Metcalf won’t turn 24 until December. At some point, Peterson is going to push the envelope a day too late into his career, and DK is going to make him pay for these early-career frustrations.

Final notes on Seattle

Love me some Russell Wilson ($7.6K/$8.4K). And this could be the week to remove the bubble wrap — he went for 32.9 FPs in that Week 7 showdown. Just for fun, Freddie Swain ($4.0K/$5.0K) has a perfect targeted passer rating this season (158.3). Eric Kendricks is dealing with a bruised hip, so Gerald Everett ($3.0K/$5.0K) might find a way to reach color on Sunday. Just not enough targets to go around after Lockett and Metcalf get their fill. And Seattle is even passing on 62% of snaps.

Final notes on Minnesota

I follow a simple path with this passing offense. If Kirk Cousins ($6.3K/$7.7K), Justin Jefferson ($7.2K/$7.4K), and Adam Thielen ($6.7K/$7.6K) are facing a Cover 1-heavy defense, I pounce. If the opponent doesn’t, I fade. Even though Dalvin Cook ($8.4K/$9.5K) is averaging 20.6 FPG (fourth-best), my expectations for a RB of his talents are far greater. And too many negative runs for my liking. When Cook gets his game together, I’ll splurge on some exposure. When is he going to get that target share back up to those of his earlier days? If K.J. Osborn ($3.5K/$5.1K) manages to do it again this week with Ugo Amadi in coverage, I’ll believe it. Precisely like Rondale Moore, 70% of Osborn’s production and his only TD this season was handed to him on a busted coverage. It’s still far too early to give up on Tyler Conklin ($2.9K/$4.7K). If it were Irv Smith Jr., the populus would be patient waiting for his upside to emerge. But Conklin deserves the very same.

Update: We will all just need to wait on Dalvin Cooks’ status since the team gave no indication they were worried he’d miss.

With a dedicated focus on studying game film and a faithful commitment to metrics & analytics, Huber’s specialties include DFS (college and NFL), Devy & Dynasty formats, and second-to-none fantasy analysis of high school prospects.