Week 2 Advanced Matchups

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Week 2 Advanced Matchups

Table of Contents

  1. ATS and Total Wagers
  2. New York Giants at Washington Football Team
  3. Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins
  4. Cincinnati Bengals at Chicago Bears
  5. Houston Texans at Cleveland Browns
  6. Los Angeles Rams at Indianapolis Colts
  7. New England Patriots at New York Jets
  8. San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles
  9. Las Vegas Raiders at Pittsburgh Steelers
  10. New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers
  11. Denver Broncos at Jacksonville Jaguars
  12. Minnesota Vikings at Arizona Cardinals
  13. Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  14. Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Chargers
  15. Tennessee Titans at Seattle Seahawks
  16. Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens
  17. Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers

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 is updated throughout the week.

With all of that out of the way, let’s cannonball our way into the Week 2 analysis.

Against the Spread (ATS) Picks (4-2)

New Orleans Saints (-3.5) at Carolina Panthers
Cleveland Browns (-12.5) vs. Houston Texans
Denver Broncos (-6.0) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Los Angeles Rams (-4) at Indianapolis Colts
Arizona Cardinals (-4.5) vs. Minnesota Vikings
Kansas City Chiefs (-3.5) at Baltimore Ravens

Total Wagers (2-2)

Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Chargers (Over 55.0)
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (Over 48.0)

New York Giants at Washington Football Team

8:20 PM EST (Thursday Night Football)

Landover, Maryland

FedEx Field

Vegas

Betting Line: Washington -3.0

Over/Under: 40.5

Moneyline: Washington (-171), Giants (+145)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives

Giants:

RB Saquon Barkley (Limited Practice - Questionable - Knee)

TE Evan Engram (No Practice - OUT - Calf)

OG Shane Lemieux (No Practice - OUT - Knee)

OLB Cam Brown (No Practice - Questionable - Hamstring)

Washington:

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

RB Antonio Gibson (Full Practice - Probable - Shoulder)

Lesson/s learned from New York in Week 1:

On offense, OC Jason Garrett used Posse personnel (11) on three-fourths of offensive snaps, and Daniel Jones passed on four-fifths of those snaps. The O-line played surprisingly well in pass pro, but the ground game finished third from last with 3.0 YPC, tied for second-worst with a long run of only eight yards, and third-fewest rushing first downs (three).

The Giants’ defense used the fifth-highest rate of Cover 3 last season. That dropped to 18th last week. Second-year DC Patrick Graham shifted that volume toward more Cover 2 and all-out blitzes (Cover 0 — possibly a product of game script).

Lesson/s learned from Washington in Week 1:

Working in a tight game throughout, Washington OC Scott Turner called in a nearly 50:50 split of run-to-pass. Two-thirds of snaps utilized Posse personnel (11), nearly identical to last season. Turner designed his ground game with Inside Zone blocking at more than twice the rate (52%) that he used last season (25%).

DC Jack Del Rio reduced his 2020 rate of Cover 3 usage by 25%, shifting those snaps entirely to Cover 1. If the change holds up, it’ll entirely explain the addition of William Jackson III. The Football Team only generated six QB pressures last week. Their collection of outstanding pass rushing D-linemen will need to find a way to consistently get home if WFT stands a chance of making a playoff push.

Matchups to Target

Kenny Golladay, NYG ($5.7K DK | $5.9K FD) vs. Washington’s Cover 1 | 3 | 4

More Cover 1 looks from Washington only bolsters Kenny Golladay as a solid investment this week. Golladay has produced his highest FPs/route over the last three seasons against Cover 1 (0.53) and Cover 4 (0.46). While a 4/64/0 line on six targets is not all that exciting, he was on the field for more WR routes than all sans Sterling Sherpard, and paced Giants’ WRs in air yards (98). His Week 1 alignment percentage will place Golladay within the coverage of Jackson and rookie Benjamin St-Juste at right corner for two-thirds of his routes. St-Juste was simply lit up for 22.4 FPs against the Chargers, surrendering the 63rd-highest yards/coverage snap (YPCS) average among 67 qualified outside CBs.

Antonio Gibson, WAS ($6.3K DK | $6.6K FD) vs. Giants’ Cover 2

The Bad: Antonio Gibson was briefly forced out of last week’s game after he banged up his shoulder, fumbled out of bounds in the third quarter, and his fumble inside Washington’s five-yard line, recovered by Kenneth Murray, resulted in Justin Herbert connecting with Mike Williams for the go-ahead TD.

The Good: Gibson led all Washington players with five targets, averaged a healthy 4.5 YPC on 20 carries against a stout LAC run defense, and practiced in full on Tuesday after logging a limited practice on Monday due to the shoulder ailment.

Since Los Angeles managed to keep the ball for the final seven minutes of the fourth quarter, we don’t have enough information to determine if Gibson would have been featured in the up-tempo offense over J.D. McKissic had Washington had the opportunity. What we do know is that 25 touches is an elite level of involvement. He ran 50% of passing routes compared to 35% for McKissic. And he’ll face a Giants’ defense on Thursday Night Football that has stacked the box at the eighth-highest rate over the last three seasons. But Gibson has actually preferred to do his work against stacked boxes during his career, averaging the sixth-highest FPs/attempt among all RBs. After leading all RBs with the lowest negative run rate last season, the Chargers were unable to TFL Gibson last week.

His salaries saw slight bumps, but Gibson remains an elite RB option in the Thursday-to-Monday (T2M) slate. New York surrendered the sixth-most FPs to the Broncos’ RBs last week, the fourth-most rushing yards (165), and the highest YPC (5.9).

Matchups to Avoid

Saquon Barkley, NYG ($7.0K DK | $7.2K FD) vs. Washington’s Cover 1 | 3 | 4

Week 1 was unkind to Saquon Barkley. He may have finished with the 17th-highest carry share, but that number was only supported by 10 carries. He did manage to avoid any negative runs. And that’s significant since the Giants entered the season with some disparaging expectations for its O-line. Still, Barkley only averaged 0.28 FPs/touch — 58th out of 62 qualified RBs. It’s been reported that Barkley’s involvement will grow as the season unfolds. He’ll face a Washington run defense that just limited the Chargers to the fifth-lowest YPC. With pricing as the RB9/RB10, we need 21/18 FPs from Saquon to hit value. Unlikely.

Final notes on New York

Kyle Rudolph ($3.9K/$5.1K) will start for Evan Engram for a second straight week. Yawn. Daniel Jones ($5.3K/$6.9K) submitted a solid 22.4 FPs. Washington just permitted the Chargers to pass for 334 yards (fifth-most). However, 29% of Jones’ FPs came on a four-yard scramble TD as the clock expired. Still counts, just removes a bit of the luster. Despite serving up that yardage, WFT still only allowed Herbert the seventh-fewest QB FPs (13.4). And it would be unwise to expect the struggles to continue for Washington’s elite D-line.

One player that might be a sneaky GPP punt is Sterling Shepard ($5.5K/$6.1K). He scored on a 37-yard catch-and-run within the coverage of Patrick Surtain last week. He was also Jones’ most targeted wideout, collecting a 25% share. But he’s limited to GPPs in my eyes due to facing Kendall Fuller out of the slot on around half of his routes. We need more time to make reliable assumptions as to the weekly expectations for Darius Slayton ($4.0K/$5.2K). Golladay is the top performer when opposed by both Cover 1 and Cover 4 among this group. And Slayton has been non-existent facing Cover 4 over his career.

Final notes on Washington

When Curtis Samuel was placed on short-term IR, it resulted in a direct hit to the upside for both Terry McLaurin ($6.2K/$6.5K) and Logan Thomas ($5.1K/$5.5K) in tougher matchups. That’s no fault of Taylor Heinicke’s ($5.6K/$6.7K). He’s been just as aggressive downfield as Ryan Fitzpatrick over his short career. Heinecke also offers similar mobility to extend plays. As promising a future as it appears is in store for Dyami Brown ($3.1K/$4.8K), his technique is still a work in progress. With the number of routes McLaurin will face across from James Bradberry plus his career struggles against Cover 2, this is not the week for F1 McLaurin exposure. That outlook does not extend to Thomas, who will be facing a Giants’ defense that just obliged 22.5 FPs to Broncos’ TEs.

Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins

1:00 PM EST

Miami Gardens, Florida

Hard Rock Stadium

Vegas

Betting Line: Bills -3.0

Over/Under: 47.5

Moneyline: Bills (-179), Dolphins (+152)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives

Bills:

WR Gabriel Davis (Limited Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

WR Isaiah McKenzie (Full Practice - Probable - Shoulder)

DT Star Lotulelei (Limited Practice - Questionable - Calf)

ILB Matt Milano (Full Practice - Probable - Ankle)

FS Micah Hyde (Limited Practice - Questionable - Neck)

Dolphins:

WR DeVante Parker (Full Practice - Probable - Shoulder)

WR Will Fuller V (No Practice - OUT - Personal)

WR Preston Williams (Full Practice - Questionable - Foot)

TE Adam Shaheen (Limited Practice - Questionable - Knee)

DT John Jenkins (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)

ILB Elandon Roberts (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)

ILB Andrew Van Ginkel (Full Practice - Probable - Back)

FS Clayton Fejedelem (Full Practice - Probable - Shoulder)

Lesson/s learned from Buffalo in Week 1:

OC Brian Daboll continued his Air Raid-like usage of three-or-more detached personnel (96%). He called for a pass on over two-thirds of those reps.

DC Leslie Frazier provided one of the most surprising scheme shifts from Week 1 when he only finished behind the Patriots in Cover 1 rate. That increase was withdrawn from its Cover 3 usage, resulting in a league-low three-high rate. Their defensive struggles against the run from last season were not as prevalent, but Buffalo’s pass rush ranked 31st in total QB pressures.

Lesson/s learned from Miami in Week 1:

While a one-point victory supported by only 17 points isn’t occasion enough to call home, it was a victory debut for new co-OCs Eric Studesville and George Godsey. The pair sent out heavy personnel on 56% of snaps — 40% from Ace personnel (12). And, when Miami used 11 personnel on 44% of snaps, they passed on just under 80%. The Dolphins shifted to featuring Outside Zone and Power (Backside Pull) to go along with similar Inside Zone and Man blocking rates.

On the defensive side, second-year DC Josh Boyer changed nothing from his Man-heavy scheme rotation. The pass rush generated just under 20 QB pressures, and they held the Patriots to the tenth-fewest overall FPs (86.8).

Matchups to Avoid

Myle Gaskin, MIA ($5.9K DK | $5.7K FD) vs. Bills’ Cover 1 | 4

Outside of a couple obvious plays, this matchup is all about the avoid list. Gaskin fell 30% short of hitting value on DraftKings, 33% on FanDuel last week. Even with his five receptions, nine carries is not going to help his cause as a reliable DFS asset. It doesn’t help matters that he’ll face what appears to be an improved Buffalo run defense.

Cole Beasley, BUF ($4.6K DK | $5.4K FD) vs. Nik Needham, MIA

One of the breakout performers from Weeks was Miami nickelback Nik Needham. He limited his coverage responsibilities — namely Jakobi Meyers — to the fourth-fewest YPCS, fifth-fewest FPs/coverage snap (FPCS), seventh-lowest targeted passer rating, and on the sixth-lowest air yards/coverage snap (AYCS) among 28 qualified slot corners. Cole Beasley is a difficult opponent for most defenders. And that difficulty is compounded by the Bills passing at a top-10 rate. But this is not a smash spot for Beasley. He’s never provided the efficiency worthy of attention when facing Cover 1 or Cover 2 defenses — the schemes the Dolphins will field on Sunday.

Stefon Diggs, BUF ($7.7K DK | $7.5K FD) vs. Xavien Howard, MIA

Allow me to qualify this recommendation with a warning: with enough volume, no defender is able to prevent a receiver from reaching/exceeding value. If the Dolphins are able to get out ahead early on the Bills, Josh Allen shifting into an extended up-tempo mode would be a scary sight indeed. And few NFL WRs offer the level of Cover 1-upside as Stefon Diggs. And Diggs was just limited to 15.9 FPs in spite of seeing 12 targets last week. If I’ve failed to clarify, fading Diggs outright is a dangerous proposition, indeed.

On the flip side, Diggs will face a shadow from some guy named Xavien Howard this week. Diggs manufactured 29.5 FPs against Miami in Week 1 last year, but he did so within the coverage of Noah Igbinoghene. When Diggs faced off with Howard in Week 17, Xavien held him to a 2/26/0 line. Last week was an odd one for Howard. Without the Patriots fielding a true No. 1 wideout, we actually saw Howard drift in to defend the slot at nearly double the rate he did last season. That is not the case this week. It’ll be the Diggs vs. Howard show. You can certainly consider Diggs in GPPs knowing he’ll see his normal rate of targeting, but he is not in play this week for my Cash/Single-Entry (SE) lineup.

Final notes on Buffalo

Just as in the case of Diggs, flat avoiding Josh Allen ($7.2K/$8.1K) is never a solid plan. But you do not need me to tell you that. I’m envisioning that it’ll be one from either Emmanuel Sanders ($4.0K/$5.1K) or Gabriel Davis ($3.9K/$4.9K) that provides the value. Sanders actually led the team in air yards (146), but Davis only provided more evidence in favor of viewing him as the superior player — 1.25 yards/route run (YPRR) and 80.7 targeted passer rating for Sanders vs. 5.00 YPRR and 108.3 targeted passer rating for Davis. It seems the overriding result of Zack Moss’ ($4.5K/$5.2K) healthy scratch last week may’ve been lost. It opened the door for Matt Breida ($4.3K/$4.7K) to slide in, turning an unfortunate two-headed committee with Devin Singletary ($4.9K/$5.6K) into a three-headed disaster once Moss gets activated.

Final notes on Miami

Tua Tagovailoa ($5.5K/$6.6K) is priced reasonably toward providing a floor value — as he was able to do last week. Jaylen Waddle ($4.5K/$5.5K) was every bit as good as we expected, ranking 19th among all WRs seeing at least three targets with 0.6 FPs/route. Not too bad for a kid still priced as the WR55/47. Devante Parker ($5.5K/$5.8K) saw the volume (26% target share), but the return of Will Fuller V ($4.8K/$5.7K) from suspension will certainly have an impact. We should still view Parker as Miami’s No. 1 option — for now, with Fuller’s game-changing speed only improving the upside for Tagovailoa.

It was shocking to see Mike Gesicki ($4.0K/$5.3K) go without any production. That was last week. And game script uncertainty teetering between positive and negative led to an unbalanced offensive approach. We can expect brighter days ahead for one of Tua’s favorite targets. Perhaps as early as this week facing a Buffalo defense that Gesicki averaged 10.5 targets, 6.5 receptions, 88.5 yards, and 0.5 TDs against in two games last season.

Update: It doesn’t sound good on Will Fuller V’s status. Brian Flores does not sound very confident answering questions in the video. Whatever the reason behind his absence, I just hope everything is okay on his end. As for Sunday, bump up both Waddle and Parker.

Cincinnati Bengals at Chicago Bears

1:00 PM EST

Chicago, Illinois

Soldier Field

Vegas

Betting Line: Bears -2.5

Over/Under: 45.5

Moneyline: Bears (-137), Bengals (+116)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives

Bengals:

QB Joe Burrow (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)

OG Jackson Carman (Limited Practice - Probable - Cramps)

CB Darius Phillips (Limited Practice - Questionable - Thigh)

CB Trae Waynes (No Practice - OUT - Hamstring)

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

SS Brandon Wilson (Full Practice - Probable - Thumb)

Bears:

WR Darnell Mooney (Full Practice - Probable - Back)

WR Marquise Goodwin (Full Practice - Probable - Quad)

LT Jason Peters (Limited Practice - Probable - Quadriceps)

LT Larry Borom (No Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

DT Eddie Goldman (No Practice - Questionable - Knee)

OLB Robert Quinn (Limited Practice - Questionable - Back)

OLB Joel Iyiegbuniwe (Full Practice - Probable - Shoulder)

Lesson/s learned from Cincinnati in Week 1:

Joe Burrow’s knee is more than healthy enough to lead this attack. HC/play-caller Zac Taylor and OC Brian Callahan put three-wide on the field on 70% of snaps. With the game script in their favor for much of the game against Minnesota, the offense leaned in favor of the run, particularly in heavy sets. Just seeing the Bengals field heavy sets after doing so at the third-lowest rate is simply a rare example of Cincinnati maintaining a lead over any stretch of time. The most significant alteration is shifting the rushing attack toward featuring Outside Zone blocking, potentially placing a positive spin on Joe Mixon’s season outlook.

That wasn’t the only significant shift in scheme; DC Lou Anarumo essentially abandoned a top-10 Cover 4 rate from last season in favor of top-10 rates of Cover 2 and Cover 3. He maintained his Cover 1 usage, the staple of his rotation. But without William Jackson III in the picture, Anarumo did not travel his outside corners last week. Chidobe Awuzie emerged as more than capable on the outside after a forgettable 2020 season in Dallas.

Lesson/s learned from Chicago in Week 1:

The Bears started the season out behind the eight ball, as expected, facing a nasty Rams’ defense. OC Bill Lazor did unveil a massive increase in spread personnel, jumping from 61% last season to 80% last Sunday night. He actually handed the ball off at a higher rate from spread personnel than from heavy sets.

New DC Sean Desai did not get off on a positive note, watching his pass rush only produce nine QB pressures, and seeing his zone-heavy secondary fail mightily in its efforts to defend the pass. Matthew Stafford nearly threw down a perfect passer against the Bears, with slot corner Marqui Christian torched for a pair of TDs and a perfect targeted passer rating.

Matchups to Target

Allen Robinson II, CHI ($6.2K DK | $7.2K FD) vs. Bengals Cover 1 | 2 | 3

The prospects are all positive in this matchup, headlined by Allen Robinson II in a spot where he should find success. Putting aside a week where he did all of his work across from Jalen Ramsey and Darious Williams, Robinson will find himself in calmer waters facing a Cincinnati defense that just permitted the Vikings’ WRs to score the third-most FPs (59.4). That number should’ve been higher after officials failed to award Justin Jefferson with a clear TD reception. One of the most unfortunate results of AR12 playing with substandard QB play over the last three seasons is the resulting coverage numbers failing to highlight the spots we should be targeting him. Robinson will see a top-10 target rate in a get-right game at home.

David Montgomery, CHI ($6.1K DK | $7.3K FD) vs. Bengals Cover 1 | 2 | 3

Watching the Chicago O-line play last week truly speaks to the ability of David Montgomery. In spite of his O-line failing on all fronts, particularly in run blocking, and facing the formidable run defense of Los Angeles, Montgomery still managed the seventh-most FPs from Week 1 RBs on the 13th-highest backfield share. No matter how well the Bengals’ defense did in limiting Dalvin Cook last week, they are a couple levels down from the Rams’ excellence in run defense.

Don’t confuse the fact that Montgomery only saw one target as a sign he wasn’t involved in the passing game. He only ran one less route than Damien Williams, but just saw four fewer targets. That target rate disparity is unlikely to continue in future weeks. With the Bears favored at home, a positive game script will allow Montgomery to further showcase his impressive talents.

Ja’Marr Chase, CIN ($5.0K DK | $5.5K FD) vs. Bears’ Cover 0 | 6

It was an impressive first week of the season for rookie wideouts. Ja'Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle, DeVonta Smith, Rondale Moore, and Anthony Schwartz provided varying levels of success over expectations. That list would also include Amon-Ra St. Brown had Jared Goff not overthrown him on a TD, and another 15-yard reception wasn’t called back on a hold. The one consideration with Chase’s 5/101/1 line is that he scored his 50-yard TD against a hobbled Bashaud Breeland. Alas, it’s all too common to see a defender feign injury just as they allow a splash play.

Chase ran 94% of routes, and led the team with both a 27% target share and 114 air yards. Even with Tyler Boyd set to face the optimal matchup among the group from Marqui Christian out of the slot, we simply cannot look past Chase’s immediate involvement. All along, the expectation had been for the offense to support each of its three talented WRs due to anticipated negative game scripts. Week 1 provided the evidence that only two (Tee Higgins) can be expected to be supported when Cincy is able to get out in front. Until we see otherwise, count on seeing Chase land above the value line in all matchups.

Final notes on Cincinnati

The only factor holding me back from listing Joe Burrow as a target is the big hit he took last week that seemed to alter Cincinnati’s offensive approach. After showing more aggressiveness attacking downfield early in the game, Burrow seemed to shorten his focus after the hit. The team states he’s fine, but I’ll not be risking my money in Cash/SE to prove that to be true.

Update: Burrow is fine. He is in a solid spot Sunday against a secondary with vulnerabilities.

I’m not going to waste your time talking up Joe Mixon’s big game last week. It happened, you know about it. I already passed along how the offense shifted to include a higher rate of Outside Zone blocking. For those unaware, a perfect example of the one-cut scheme is the one Mike Shanahan and Terrell Davis used to great effect for Denver in the mid-1990s. It’s a change that appeared to favor Mixon’s style. If he can do the same against a solid run defense of Chicago, he could be in for a monster season.

If I had to venture a guess, this is a spot where I believe the passing offense will factor ahead of the ground game. That opinion is supported by Chicago’s first appearance. To that effect, provided Burrow is 100%, this is the first week where Chase, Tyler Boyd ($4.7K/$5.7K), and Tee Higgins ($5.4K/$6.0K) should all be able to at least hit floor value.

Final notes on Chicago

Even though I see a far better result for Andy Dalton ($5.2K/$6.5K) against a defense using the Cover 1 and Cover 2 schemes that he’s excelled against over the last three seasons, the looming threat of Justin Fields ($5.0K/$6.4K) replacing him at a moment’s notice is too significant for recommendation.

Darnell Mooney ($4.2K/$5.5K) is also in prime position for his first big game of the season. In fact, it’s nearly a 100% shoe-in that he manages to hit value at his price points. And another week, another performance showcasing Cole Kmet ($3.7K/$5.1K) as a difference-making threat as a receiver.

Houston Texans at Cleveland Browns

1:00 PM EST

Cleveland, Ohio

FirstEnergy Stadium

Vegas

Betting Line: Browns -12.5

Over/Under: 48.0

Moneyline: Browns (-642), Texans (+457)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives

Texans:

QB Deshaun Watson (No Practice - OUT - Not Injury Related)

WR Andre Roberts (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)

TE Pharaoh Brown (No Practice - Questionable - Ankle/Shoulder)

DT Vincent Taylor (No Practice - OUT - Ankle)

ILB Kevin Pierre-Louis (No Practice - Questionable - Thigh)

CB Desmond King II (Limited Practice - Questionable - Knee)

CB Lonnie Johnson Jr. (Limited Practice - Questionable - Thigh)

Browns:

WR Odell Beckham Jr. (Limited Practice - OUT - Knee)

WR Anthony Schwartz (Limited Practice - Questionable - Knee)

RT Jack Conklin (Limited Practice - Questionable - Knee)

LT Chris Hubbard (No Practice - OUT - Triceps)

LT Jedrick Wills Jr. (No Practice - Doubtful - Ankle)

OG Michael Dunn (Limited Practice - Questionable - Back)

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

DT Tommy Togai (No Practice - Questionable - Illness)

ILB Mack Wilson (Limited Practice - Probable - Quadriceps)

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

CB Greg Newsome II (Limited Practice - Probable - Biceps)

CB Troy Hill (Full Practice - Probable - Hamstring)

FS Grant Delpit (Limited Practice - Probable - Hamstring)

Lesson/s learned from Houston in Week 1:

It came as quite a surprise that OC Tim Kelly maintained his role under the new regime. His offense helped make that decision appear to be ingenious, at least after one week. As for any shifts in personnel usage, we simply have no way of knowing if anything they did last week will continue in a game where they amassed a 34-7 third quarter lead. But we do know Kelly overhauled his ground game scheme, featuring Outside Zone and Man blocking. Keep in mind that Houston led the NFL in Inside Zone run rate last season. It certainly seemed to work out well for Mark Ingram II, again, at least for one week.

One of the most massive scheme shifts of the new season was provided by new DC Lovie Smith. Using a top-10 rate of Cover 1 and Cover 3, combined with a top-15 rate of Cover 2 last season, Smith reduced his rate of man coverage to the second-lowest in the league (3%). He also dropped his Cover 3 rate to the third-lowest of Week 1. If you are surprised to learn that Smith shifted those percentages toward featuring Cover 2 and Cover 6, maybe the term Tampa 2 might jog your memory. It was during his term as Tampa Bay’s LB coach from 1996-2000 that Smith — who claims to have used the technique in high school — installed Derrick Brooks in the system. It’s essentially a typical Cover 2, only with the MIKE LB dropping deep in coverage. It’s a feature that is also built into Smith's Cover 6.

Lesson/s learned from Cleveland in Week 1:

It would be shocking to see that OC Alex Van Pelt altered the setup for the Browns’ offense after very nearly unseating the Chiefs in the playoffs. Once again, Cleveland very nearly upset Kansas City last week. And they did so with the exact personnel and ground game approaches as last season.

The same can pretty much be said for DC Joe Woods’ coverage scheme rotation. After only installing the system one season ago, the results of the 2020 season informed us that this defense was only lacking in a couple pieces before assembling something special. And first-round pick Greg Newsome II not only did well against KC, he put up top-five rates in every metric that indicates quality coverage. Remember the name.

Matchups to Target

Nick Chubb, CLE ($7.8K DK | $8.4K FD) vs. Texans’ Cover 2 | 6

It’s not only the Texans that will face a tough coverage challenge in Week 2, Cleveland — See: Baker Mayfield below — will need to rely on its ground game to lead its attack on Sunday. One thing is certain, take everything the Jaguars did or didn’t do on the ground last week and throw it out. Whereas the Jacksonville O-line failed on all fronts, the Browns’ O-line is simply the best in the game, and can be counted on to dismantle what appeared to me to be an unimpressive Texans’ run defense.

Since the Jags decided running the ball wasn’t part of their game plan last week, Houston’s stacked box rate will not provide us with anything reliable. Needless to say, Nick Chubb balled out last week. He checked all of the boxes to indicate, provided his health, a top-three RB season is on the schedule. He took a 63% carry share, 17 touches, and three goal line attempts (two successful) to post 23.1 FPs with a monster 116.3 elusive rating (measure of a RBs ability to work through contact), and added 2.00 YPRR as a receiver.

Kareem Hunt, CLE ($5.8K DK | $5.7K FD) vs. Texans’ Cover 2 | 6

The eating will be so good for the Cleveland backfield this week that Kareem Hunt is also a tremendous value. When you are working behind this O-line against a team that’s only a couple weeks into its rebuild phase, them’s the breaks, as they say. Relatively sure most already understand Hunt has never been lacking in talent, only in his opportunities to use it.

Brandin Cooks, HOU ($5.9K DK | $6.6K FD) vs. Browns’ Cover 3 | 4 | 6

Perhaps the player I regret most — alongside Darren Waller 😬 — for fading in Week 1 was Brandin Cooks. Never did I envision Houston pulverizing Jacksonville, and it resulting in DFS usefulness for Tyrod Taylor and Mark Ingram II. Be that as it may, the individual I did actually think would succeed was Cooks. Did I listen to that intuition? Nope! We live and we learn.

Reinforced by the 12.5 points currently in Cleveland’s favor, expect to see Houston down by multiple scores early. Unlike the Jaguars, the Browns are actually interested in moving the ball on the ground. Fueled by a heavily negative game script, the worst of the worst scenarios will unfold: Tyrod Taylor will be forced into an up-tempo passing mode. A worst-case-scenario as it relates to Taylor, prime territory for Cooks’ volume upside. Cooks was able to do most of his damage on the deep stuff last week. It’s unwise to chase after splash plays against a poor defense in the following week facing one that’s playoff-tested. We won’t need the deep stuff — although it certainly wouldn’t hurt, only for Cooks to see 10-plus targets by the end of garbage time.

Matchups to Avoid

Baker Mayfield, CLE ($6.0K DK | $7.1K FD) vs. Texans’ Cover 2 | 6

Why would Mayfield be listed as a matchup to avoid after his big 2020 season and facing a defense that’s most likely going to show its vulnerabilities after a strong Week 1? This suggestion is 100% based on the scheme he’ll face. Over the last three seasons, Mayfield has thrown for 34 TDs to only 13 INTs when opposed by Man coverages — 25-and-7 vs. Cover 1. Against Cover 2, Cover 3, Cover 4, and Cover 6 combined: 18 TDs to 31 INTs with a 15% drop in air yards/attempt.

Limiting the timeframe to only including last season and Week 1: 4-and-9 against those zones with a 20% dip in air yards/attempt, 13-and-1 vs. Man coverages with a 25% increase in passer rating. Houston will use a zone scheme on 96% of snaps on Sunday — the league’s highest rate.

Tyrod Taylor, HOU ($5.5K DK | $6.8K FD) vs. Browns’ Cover 3 | 4 | 6

It’s not only Cleveland’s QB that will have his vulnerabilities exposed this weekend. Tyrod Taylor will see a schematic rotation consisting of Cover 3, Cover 4, and Cover 6 at competitive rates. If one attempted to script the most difficult opponent possible, based purely on the historical success against each coverage type, you’d mix together Cover 3 and Cover 4.

When facing Cover 3, Taylor ranks dead last over the last three seasons with 0.11 FPs/dropback (FP/Db) and with a 47.6 passer rating — a spike into the ground awards you with a 39.6 passer rating. When facing Cover 4, he ranks 44th among 52 qualified QBs with 0.17 FP/Db and 46th with a 55.7 passer rating. It should be noted that Taylor has only dropped back 191 times over the last three seasons, so some correction of those numbers is always possible. But we want to make the most informed decisions possible, minimizing the risk of our investment.

Final notes on Houston

If you trust that Mark Ingram II ($5.0K/$5.6K) will see another 26 carries, produce another 14.5 FPs, or even fend off Phillip Lindsay ($4.6K/$4.9K), I wish you the best of luck. Nico Collins ($3.2K/$4.8K), as expected, is not someone we should be adding to DFS lineups at this time.

Final notes on Cleveland

Jarvis Landry ($6.3K/$6.8K) had himself an outstanding game last week. He led Cleveland WRs with a 118.8 targeted passer rating, 19% target share, and turned 19 air yards into 71 total yards. He is as close as it gets to being recommended as a target … and close enough that perhaps he should be. You can be guaranteed that I’ll have some exposure to Anthony Schwartz ($3.3K/$4.8K) in my GPP lineups. He was electricity incarnate against the Chiefs. It’s clear Donovan Peoples-Jones ($3.0K/$5.0K) had better do something in short order before Schwartz races past him on the depth chart. Austin Hooper ($3.8K/$5.2K) or David Njoku ($3.6K/$4.8K)? One too many TE mouths for DFS purposes.

Los Angeles Rams at Indianapolis Colts

1:00 PM EST

Indianapolis, Indiana

Lucas Oil Stadium

Vegas

Betting Line: Rams -3.5

Over/Under: 48.0

Moneyline: Rams (-188), Colts (+158)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives

Rams:

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

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

Colts:

WR Michael Pittman Jr. (Limited Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

WR Paris Campbell (Limited Practice - Questionable - Abdomen)

WR Mike Strachan (Limited Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

OT Eric Fisher (Limited Practice - Probable - Achilles)

OT Braden Smith (No Practice - OUT - Foot)

OG Quenton Nelson (No Practice - Questionable - Foot/Back)

DE Kwity Paye (No Practice - Questionable - Hamstring)

DE Kemoko Turay (Limited Practice - Questionable - Groin)

DE Al-Quadin Muhammad (Full Practice - Probable - Ankle)

ILB Darius Leonard (No Practice - Probable - Ankle/Illness)

CB Xavier Rhodes (No Practice - OUT - Calf)

SS Khari Willis (No Practice - Questionable - Illness)

Lesson/s learned from Los Angeles in Week 1:

OC Kevin O’Connell actually bumped his three-wide usage up by around 5%. He called for Matthew Stafford to pass on two-thirds of those snaps. The fact that he ran the ball on nearly 80% of snaps with a heavy set is unlikely to continue. It will provide a significant tell to opponents, but is likely part of O’Connell’s devious plan.

New DC Raheem Morris shifted 40% of his Cover 4 rate and what was remaining of his Cover 1 rate from last season to rank with the third-highest Cover 3 rate from Week 1. Even if it doesn’t balance itself back out, it’s not a monumental shift considering the Rams already utilized such a high rate of Cover 3-Seam last season. As expected, Los Angeles’ defense played outstanding in Morris’ debut.

Lesson/s learned from Indianapolis in Week 1:

New OC Marcus Brady clearly has his work cut out for him. Since the day Andrew Luck retired, no decision with regard to this offense has pushed Indianapolis any closer to a playoff level. That said, seeing Brady shift to a near-90% rate of Posse personnel will have fantasy implications when the Colts find a way to get their WRs involved. In somewhat of a trend, Brady also converted his ground game to featuring Outside Zone and Man blocking. The one-cut system is certainly becoming popular.

It’s DC Matt Eberflus; we can expect the Indy defense to find its deadly nature. And his scheme rotation is a mirror image to the one used last season. It’s not about the system. It’s about getting guys healthy, especially Xavier Rhodes.

Matchups to Target

Matthew Stafford, LAR ($6.4K DK | $7.5K FD) vs. Colts’ Cover 4 | 6

Matthew Stafford nearly submitted a perfect passer rating last week (156.1). He averaged 12.4 YPA (second-highest) and 10.3 air yards/attempt (fifth-highest). Now he’ll face a Colts’ defense — likely to be without Xavier Rhodes for a second straight game — that just allowed 26.2 pure passing FPs (third-most) to a QB that… nearly… posted… a perfect… passer rating (Russell Wilson). What a coincidence. Lock and load, gents.

Cooper Kupp, LAR ($6.0K DK | $6.2K FD) vs. Colts’ Cover 4 | 6

(And/Or)

Robert Woods, LAR ($5.7K DK | $6.5K FD) vs. Colts’ Cover 4 | 6

What’s good for poppa is gonna be candy for his children. It only took half a second to see the outstanding connection established between Stafford and Cooper Kupp. Not that we should be shocked to see two of the best in the business produce these results when paired. But Stafford didn’t stop there, he also fed Robert Woods and Van Jefferson with TDs. If the Rams still had a healthy Cam Akers, they’d have an offensive juggernaut on their hands.

With Kupp and Jefferson putting up numbers, those with Woods investments were left wondering where Bobby Trees was in this yardage extravaganza. Do not be concerned. He is fine and well. Just like last week, historical coverage success informs us that Woods is the superior play. But Kupp is the type of player that doesn’t seem too content surrendering to his weaknesses. However, I think the fact that Woods saw a reduced role last week has not eluded HC Sean McVay. Expect Woods to get his fill this time around.

Matchups to Avoid

Jonathan Taylor, IND ($7.2K DK | $7.2K FD) vs. Rams’ Cover 4 | 6

Avoid has such strong connotations. Since we need to see 21.6/18.0 FPs before we can turn any profit on exposure to Jonathan Taylor, is it too harsh to consider him an outright fade? Perhaps those floor numbers are not all that far out of reach for a player with Taylor’s talent. But, if we intend to maximize profits, we need our GPP investments to produce in excess of their floor. And we are simply not going to invest in Taylor inside our Cash/SE lineups against the Rams' intimidating defensive front.

Yes, David Montgomery just put 21.8 on LAR. Yes, Carson Wentz floored me when he went against everything in his playing history to target his RBs with 44.8% of his attempts. No, I will not chase after a high one-week target rate in hopes he somehow breaks away for multiple scores. I feel the Montgomery result only makes things more difficult for Taylor producing a big game.

Final notes on Los Angeles

I need to see more like last week from Van Jefferson ($3.5K/$4.9K) before I invest anything significant. The Colts’ pass defense — particularly its secondary — was fundamentally flawed last week, but their run defense held up to Chris Carson. The numbers suggest that Darrell Henderson Jr. ($5.7K/$6.4K) prefers to work behind his Outside Zone blocking when the defense stacks the box. Indy ranks with the fourth-lowest stacked box rate over the last three seasons, second-lowest last season. It appears Tyler Higbee ($4.1K/$5.6K) is never going to leave the field. That’s something to consider facing a defense that supported the 10th-most FPs to Seattle TEs last week.

Final notes on Indianapolis

Carson Wentz ($5.2K/$6.7K) has earned zero trust or reason for GPP exposure. As much as I love Michael Pittman Jr.’s ($4.3K/$5.2K) game, he joins the rest of the Colts’ passing attack on the no-play list until they figure out a plan to get their receivers involved.

New England Patriots at New York Jets

1:00 PM EST

East Rutherford, New Jersey

MetLife Stadium

Vegas

Betting Line: Patriots -6.0

Over/Under: 43.0

Moneyline: Patriots (-254), Jets (+207)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives

Patriots:

WR Nelson Agholor (Full Practice - Probable - Ankle)

TE Jonnu smith (Limited Practice - Questionable - Hip)

OT Trent Brown (Limited Practice - OUT - Calf)

OT Yodny Cajuste (Limited Practice - Questionable - Hamstring)

OLB Ronnie Perkins (Limited Practice - Questionable - Shoulder)

OLB Kyle Van Noy (No Practice - Questionable - Throat)

CB Jalen Mills (Full Practice - Probable - Ankle)

SS Kyle Dugger (Full Practice - Probable - Wrist)

K Quinn Nordin (Limited Practice - Probable - Abdomen)

Jets:

WR Jamison Crowder (Limited Practice - Probable - Groin)

WR Keelan Cole Sr. (Limited Practice - Questionable - Knee)

ILB Jamien Sherwood (No Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

Lesson/s learned from New England in Week 1:

OC Josh McDaniels and HC/GM/DC Bill Belichick are set in their ways. The most radical change we’ll ever see from this regime is dropping Cam Newton in favor of Mac Jones.

Lesson/s learned from New York in Week 1:

It was a 50/50 split for new OC Mike LaFleur with his spread-to-heavy personnel sets. Considering he cut his teeth in San Francisco, that makes plenty of sense. Before I even watched the Jets-Panthers game, I told myself LaFleur would continue the Outside Zone ways of the Jedi master before him. He did not disappoint.

It was all about Cover 2 under former DC Gregg Williams. New DC Jeff Ulbrich did not subscribe to the Williams newsletter, transforming his Jets’ defense into a new Cover 1-heavy system. Ulbrich did sprinkle in a few zone flavors, but a new Cover 1 defense for us to play with is certainly exciting since it’s the easiest to predict.

Matchups to Target

Jakobi Meyers, NE ($5.1K DK | $5.5K FD) vs. Jets’ Cover 1

As anticipated from his preseason reps, Mac Jones immediately took to the starter’s role as a game manager. While a label as a game manager may not be optimal, it can be when it’s packing the accuracy of Jones. Picking a defense apart at depths under 30 yards can not only win a lot of football games, it can also result in quality fantasy results if teamed with capable possession receivers. It just so happens that one of the rising possession receivers in the NFL happens to run his routes out of the New England slot: Jakobi Meyers. I recommended Meyers as a target last week due to the likelihood that he’d see double-digit targets. He fell short of that mark in Week 1… with 9. While 6/44/0 may not induce excitement, it should when considering he did his work against Xavien Howard and, for much of the afternoon, Nik Needham — one of the breakout performers from Week 1.

With most slot WRs, route percentages can be deflated by game script. That’s not the case for Meyers. Even with New England reverting to heavy personnel on 43% of passing snaps, Meyers only left the field on two-of-40 plays. Did I forget to mention that Ulbrich elevated fifth-round rookie Michael Carter II to defend the slot? Carter, in addition to 4.3-plus speed, holds plenty of promise. He did a tremendous job limiting fellow rookie Terrace Marshall Jr. last week. But Meyers is far from a rookie. His salary spiked just a tad, but we can still roster the Patriots’ WR1 prior to his imminent eruption toward a big season at a shade over $5K 🤑.

Corey Davis, NYJ ($5.3K DK | $6.4K FD) vs. Patriots’ Cover 0 | 1

On the other sideline, Corey Davis has clearly established himself as the man holding the present fortunes of this passing attack in his hands. With the size of the contract he received, somewhere GM Joe Douglas is breathing a sigh of relief. If we could project a pair of TDs every week, Davis would be an obvious tout. But TDs simply do not follow the script. That’s actually okay as it relates to Davis’ Week 2 upside. If that doesn’t make sense, consider the fact that I am anticipating a poor outing from Zach Wilson making his East Rutherford debut.

What gives? Davis spent the previous stretch of career with Ryan Tannehill at QB. So that might explain why Davis’ numbers against Cover 1 are sehr gut. Considering he did his Cover 1 work as the second option to A.J. Brown, still managing to rank 37th-best with 0.44 FPs/route (FP/Rt) should impress. On 25% of routes over the last three seasons, Davis has collected 34% of his receptions, 35% of his yardage, and 33% of his TD total. Those numbers provide security in enough volume providing us with value since Davis is still vastly underpriced due to working with a rookie QB.

Matchups to Avoid

Zach Wilson, NYJ ($5.1K DK | $6.5K FD) vs. Patriots’ Cover 0 | 1

During his time with BYU, Zach Wilson threw 55 TDs to only 15 INTs. The ratio that eventually resulted in being selected second-overall. However, when Wilson was opposed by a Cover 1, his passer rating dropped by 22%, completion percentage by 19%, and he connected on seven TDs to four INTs. During his three passing attempts when the Panthers worked from Cover 1, Wilson should’ve been picked off by Shaq Thompson on one of his attempts. Clearly his discomfort with the coverage has not been outgrown. The other concerning detail from his debut was a clear tendency to miss low when he was off target. QBs are instructed to aim on the high side since it’s far more difficult for defenders to intercept. You can even see that on both of his passing TDs to Corey Davis.

The location of his off-target passing attempts provides nothing of DFS value unless you roster him when he unloads a series of errant passes. With the bad, we certainly have the good. He provided a glimpse of his talent against one of those gifts last week: the Cover 3 of the Panthers. His other coverage preference noted from his pre-draft assessment is Cover 4. Unfortunately for Wilson and New York, Wilson will face a defense that used the fifth-lowest rate of both Cover 3 and Cover 4 in Week 1.

Belichick uses a rotation consisting of the highest rate of Cover 1 in the league. And tops it off with a top-five rate of Cover 0 — all-out blitz. A flavor that should prove more than a nuisance for an O-line that just permitted the fifth-most QB pressures. And they’ll deal with it without stud LT Mekhi Becton.

Final notes on New England

Mac Jones ($5.4K/$6.8K) is no longer available for $4.4K on DraftKings. We need him to put on his big boy pants toward reasonable production to hit value. Love the matchup, just short on trust. A report was passed along that Damien Harris ($5.4K/$6.2K) is set to see his workload reduced. Even with an increased carry share for Rhamondre Stevenson ($4.0K/$4.8K), it only serves to muddy the waters. If only we could expect James White ($4.6K/$4.8K) to receive the target shares from his GOAT days. Landing a 5/72/1 line is a far greater challenge facing Miami than it will be for Nelson Agholor ($4.8K/$5.8K) against New York. The Jonnu Smith ($4.5K/$5.3K) and Hunter Henry ($4.3K/$5.1K) team-up is a lot more useful in real football than DFS.

Final notes on New York

Very little to get excited about in New York after Corey Davis. Elijah Moore ($3.5K/$5.0K) had his spotlight opportunity with Jamison Crowder ($4.5K/$5.5K) on the reserve/COVID-19 list. That chance is now gone. Moore is nothing but an absolute GPP punt, but Crowder will be of use in the right future matchups.

San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles

1:00 PM EST

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Lincoln Financial Field

Vegas

Betting Line: 49ers -3.0

Over/Under: 49.5

Moneyline: 49ers (-158), Eagles (+135)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives

49ers:

DT Javon Kinlaw (No Practice - Questionable - Knee)

DT Arik Armstead (No Practice - Questionable - Hip/Adductor)

DE Dee Ford (Limited Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

ILB Dru Greenlaw (No Practice - OUT - Groin)

ILB Marcel Harris (Limited Practice - Questionable - Oblique)

CB Emmanuel Moseley (No Practice - Doubtful - Knee)

CB Jason Verrett (No Practice - OUT/IR - Knee)

Eagles:

WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (Limited Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

TE Zach Ertz (Limited Practice - Questionable - Hamstring)

OG Landon Dickerson (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)

DE Ryan Kerrigan (No Practice - Questionable - Personal)

ILB Davion Taylor (Full Practice - Probable - Calf)

CB Avonte Maddox (Limited Practice - Questionable - Groin)

SS Rodney McLeod (Limited Practice - OUT - Knee)

FS Marcus Epps (Limited Practice - Questionable - Concussion)

Lesson/s learned from San Francisco in Week 1:

In spite of promoting new OC Mike McDaniel, HC Kyle Shanahan was not standing for reduced usage of his beloved heavy sets. They actually increased slightly. And the ground game strategy was untouched in Week 1.

New DC DeMeco Ryans added his own flavor to the scheme format, trimming off two-thirds of the Cover 4 rate that led the league last season. In its place, Ryan devoted that attention to doubling the rate of Cover 3 to the second-highest from Week 1.

Lesson/s learned from Philadelphia in Week 1:

No changes to the personnel approach under new OC Shane Steichen. And the third-highest Inside Zone blocking rate from last season actually increased to by 30% in Week 1.

New DC Jonathan Gannon instituted the ground-breaking scheme adjustments. Shifting from the fourth-lowest zone rate and fourth-highest Cover 1 rate, Gannon unveiled a complete reversal to the fifth-highest zone rate and the lowest usage of Cover 1 from Week 1. His zone rotation now features Cover 2, Cover 4, and Cover 6.

Matchups to Target

Elijah Mitchell, SF ($5.0K DK | $5.8K FD) vs. Eagles’ 2 | 4 | 6

Shanahan used a cupcake matchup with Detroit to send a message to a couple of youngsters the franchise used high draft picks in order to acquire.

What do we do with this information? Nothing short of “deal with it.” Shanahan is not afraid to pull the run out from under one of his players. In the case of both Brandon Aiyuk and Trey Sermon, missed training camp/practice time due to soft tissue injuries led to immediate opportunities for Trent Sherfield and Elijah Mitchell. Some issues with available secondary personnel for the 49ers could result in plenty of offense in this one.

For the San Francisco run game, from Shanahan himself, do not expect to see Mitchell shoulder 68% of the load anytime soon. But it begs the question, when Raheem Mostert injured his knee, why didn’t Shanahan utilize JaMycal Hasty beyond a 4% carry share? Mitchell and Hasty provided an even split in running 36% of team routes. And Hasty received the only goal-line carry. It’s possible Shanahan simply wanted to see what Mitchell could do when provided with an expanded opportunity. One thing is for sure, he certainly didn’t disappoint.

What can we expect of this situation moving forward? Even Kyle Shanahan doesn’t possess the nerve to take more than a 50% workload share away from a back that ranked 14th-best with 1.02 FPs/touch in Week 1. But we may see him flip the script once again, handing the other half to Sermon in Week 2. Or he could keep the Mitchell-Hasty rotation in full effect. Either way, Mitchell is heading on an outstanding trajectory against an Eagles’ defense that’s vulnerable to the run. Just don’t look at what they did against the Mike Davis backfield last week. The 49ers’ rushing attack is led by a mauling O-line, leaving scorched earth in their wake. Mitchell is an outstanding value on both DFS platforms this week.

Jalen Hurts, PHI ($6.5K DK | $7.8K FD) vs. Eagles’ 2 | 4 | 6

It appears Emmanuel Moseley is on the wrong side of questionable. Losing Moseley would be devastating to the 49ers this week. They just placed Jason Verrett on season-ending IR yesterday with an ACL tear. Verrett joins Davontae Harris (IR) and Tarvarius Moore (PUP) as unavailable options in the secondary. Without Moseley, they’d need to rely on a group consisting of Deommodore Lenoir, Dontae Johnson, Josh Norman (signed just last week), and Dre Kirkpatrick (signed off the street yesterday). It should go without saying that the passing attack of the Eagles should be on everyone’s list of optimal plays.

During Jalen Hurts’ brief NFL career, he’s manhandled Cover 3 at a level that would rank him first overall in FP/Db (0.61) and passer rating (130.1). When Hurts faced Atlanta’s Cover 3 last week, he completed 10-of-11 attempts (91%) for 117 yards, one TD, 10.6 YPA, and a 141.3 passer rating. Facing off with San Francisco’s new Cover 3-heavy defense should be money in the bankroll.

DeVonta Smith, PHI ($5.4K DK | $5.6K FD) vs. 49ers’ 0 | 3 | 6

During the mid-second quarter of the Philadelphia-Atlanta game, Hurts fed DeVonta Smith on four consecutive plays, resulting in half of his total yardage. Each of those receptions came within the coverage of Deion Jones, and in the Falcons’ Cover 2. In fact, the only reception Smith collected with an actual cornerback in coverage was the 18-yard TD he scored when Zach Ertz set a mostly-legal rub/pick on Fabian Moreau. Should we discount Smith’s performance due to the path he took to attain it? Certainly not. It’s actually quite impressive that he discovered those vulnerabilities to exploit.

One thing we didn’t see was a single example of Smith showing the ability to separate from tight coverage. But Smith will not face a single corner from the Niners that will even attempt to jam him at the line. That’s especially true since the substantial Cover 3 rate they’lll employ will drop both outside corners deep off the snap. The question won’t be if the Eagles are able to score on San Francisco … it’ll be if Philly will score the final TD to win what is setting up to be a firework extravaganza.

Dallas Goedert, PHI ($4.6K DK | $5.8K FD) vs. 49ers’ 0 | 3 | 6

All of the preseason chatter about Zach Ertz still being the Eagles’ top receiving TE was rendered meaningless in Week 1. Ertz managed to track down a pair of receptions for 34 yards. But Dallas Goedert provided a home for four-of-five targets, totalling 42 yards, and a nine-yard TD strike to close out the first half. Keep in mind that Goedert’s final line was capped by the positive game script. With Fred Warner focusing his attention on the opposing backfield, strong safety Jaquiski Tartt headlined a five-defender group that allowed 26.9 FPs to T.J. Hockenson and company in Week 1. And Goedert will work against a similar collection of defenders on Sunday.

Deebo Samuel, SF ($6.7K DK | $6.9K FD) vs. Darius Slay, PHI

When I can help it, I try to avoid exposure to Deebo Samuel. In my mind, I know the injury prone label is mostly nonsense. But my heart tells a different story. When you’ve been burned enough times by an individual's history of soft-tissue strains, a curse is born in the grip of extreme rage. The grudge is passed on from victim to victim in an endless circle of destruction. By reading this, you become the next unsuspecting victim. I may have borrowed some of that overly dramatic description from Sony Pictures’ “The Grudge” (2004), the recommendation for Samuel exposure could result in a lasting grudge inside your very soul.

In all seriousness, the actual instances of Samuel’s injuries invading my nightmares imposed its will on my season-long fantasy rosters rather in DFS. The fact of the matter is Samuel paired with Tyreek Hill to break the main slate last week with a 9/189/1 receiving line. The singular factor providing me pause in referring Samuel as a possible repeat performer is the potential of drawing a shadow from Darius Slay. That said, Slay did not travel with an Atlanta receiver last week. So, we have enough information to move forward with Samuel exposure assuming a Slay trail is off the table.

Final notes on San Francisco

It’s not outside the realm of possibility that Jimmy Garoppolo ($5.7K/$6.6K) hits value this week. We will need more clarification before factoring Trey Sermon ($4.6K/$5.5K) as an option. JaMycal Hasty ($4.2K/$4.9K) ran nasty during the preseason, so it may be his 1B role until further notice. Should we learn that Brandon Aiyuk ($5.5K/$5.9K) will continue to play from a backup role, Trent Sherfield ($3.2K/$4.7K) is priced to shred. The final piece to the upside puzzle could end up being the one outscoring the lot: George Kittle ($6.4K/$6.7K).

Final notes on Philadelphia

The duo of Miles Sanders ($6.9K/$6.3K) and Kenneth Gainwell ($4.0K/$5.0K) may have scored 29.6 combined FPs last week, but I’m going to make them prove it wasn’t a fluke before I’ll bite. It was odd that Quez Watkins ($3.2K/$4.8K) got very involved early, then disappeared from existence. As involved as Smith is going to be this week, it was Jalen Reagor ($4.1K/$5.2K) who hooked up with Hurts for a 3/40/1 line against the Falcons’ Cover 3.

Las Vegas Raiders at Pittsburgh Steelers

1:00 PM EST

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Heinz Field

Vegas

Betting Line: Steelers -6.5

Over/Under: 47.0

Moneyline: Steelers (-274), Raiders (+223)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives

Raiders:

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

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

WR Bryan Edwards (Full Practice - Probable - Elbow)

OG Denzelle Good (No Practice - Questionable - Knee)

OG Richie Incognito (No Practice - OUT - Calf)

OC Andre James (Full Practice - Probable - Elbow)

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

DT Johnathan Hankins (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)

DT Darius Philon (No Practice - Questionable - Knee)

DE Yannick Ngakoue (Limited Practice - Questionable - Hamstring)

DE Clelin Ferrell (Full Practice - Probable - Back)

DE Carl Nassib (Full Practice - Probable - Pectoral/Toe)

ILB Denzel Perryman (Limited Practice - Questionable - Hip)

ILB Nick Kwiatkowski (No Practice - OUT - Concussion)

ILB Devine Diablo (Full Practice - Probable - Ankle)

FS Roderic Teamer (No Practice - OUT - Ankle)

Steelers:

TE Eric Ebron (Full Practice - Probable - Hamstring)

TE Zach Gentry (Limited Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

DT Carlos Davis (No Practice - OUT - Knee)

ILB Devin Bush (Limited Practice - Questionable - Groin)

ILB Robert Spillane (Full Practice - Probable - Shin)

CB Joe Haden (Limited Practice - Questionable - Groin)

Lesson/s learned from Las Vegas in Week 1:

OC Greg Olson utilized heavy personnel on over 70% of snaps last week. It’s a substantial increase over using the setup on just over half of all 2020 snaps. Perhaps due to the addition of Kenyan Drake serving as the catalyst, Olson also converted to an Outside Zone approach instead of using Inside Zone blocking at the fifth-highest rate a season ago.

In a move anticipated following the free agent signings of Casey Hayward Jr., K.J. Wright, and trading for Denzel Perryman, DC Gus Bradley instituted the very highest rate of Cover 3 I’ve ever seen at just under 80%. Tack on the rate of Cover 3-Seam and Las Vegas will use a three-high scheme at nearly 90% of snaps.

Lesson/s learned from Pittsburgh in Week 1:

The Steelers may have defeated the Bills in new OC Matt Canada’s debut, but they did so with the offense stagnating in miserable fashion. As it relates to the usage of Pittsburgh’s talented trio of wideouts, seeing the Steelers use Posse personnel on greater than 70% of snaps was one positive spin.

DC Keith Butler has coached the team’s defense since 2015, but that didn’t stop him going Cover 2-heavy (fourth-highest rate) last week. I have a feeling we’ll see Pittsburgh phase the Cover 1, Cover 4, and Cover 6 usage back into the rotation in coming weeks.

Matchups to Target

Darren Waller, LV ($7.6K DK | $7.0K FD) vs. Steelers’ Cover 2

Is it ever safe to fade Darren Waller? Over his last four games, Waller has averaged 11.8 targets, 8.3 receptions, 120.3 yards, 0.75 TDs, and 27.9 FPG. It’s reached the point where I am unconcerned with the opponent on deck. Waller is a sound investment in Cash/SE at any price requiring less than 24 FPs to hit value.

Diontae Johnson, PIT ($6.4K DK | $6.6K FD) vs. Raiders’ Cover 3

The curse of the early Diontae Johnson departure may not ever be considered as a movie plot, and labeling DJ as injury prone may not be fair. But he is developing quite the reputation after leaving last week's game in a state that gave the impression the injury was significant, only to return later to score a TD as if the previous incident never occurred. It doesn’t matter how many folks know Chase Claypool possesses the most upside — Ben Roethlisberger isn’t listening. He targets Diontae as though he’s the second coming of Jerry Rice. Certainly not without risk, but if Big Ben is sending all the love toward Johnson, we may as well get aboard the bandwagon before we’re left behind.

Matchups to Avoid

Josh Jacobs, LV ($6.0K DK | $6.5K FD) vs. Steelers’ Cover 2

So it’s come to this. Josh Jacobs may still be the lead back for the Raiders, but it’s a role that has become entirely TD-dependent. In my experience, if you need TDs to hit value, look elsewhere.

Update: Get ready to dust off some Kenyan Drake action. His ability as a receiver provides him with a much higher floor than Jacobs. And expect to see the Raiders run the ball a lot more than Drake saw when he was with Arizona.

Final notes on Pittsburgh

The reduction in girth didn’t seem to change anything for Ben Roethlisberger ($5.9K/$7.2K) last week. He’s simply not the QB he used to be. Hit the pause button on the Najee Harris ($6.3K/$6.1K) train. He’s not going anywhere fast with a 30.7 elusive rating. It’s a metric that essentially informs us that the 6-foot-2, 230-pound 23-year-old is simply not shedding NFL tacklers. He’ll never be fast enough to sprint around outside containment, so he had better learn a better way to remain upright or else.

Everytime I see Chase Claypool ($5.6K/$5.9K) priced under $6K, I instantly see a value. If he’s going to prove me right, it’s gonna happen against a Cover 3-heavy defense. During his career, Claypool ranks eighth-best with 0.56 FP/Rt vs. Cover 3. Until I see JuJu Smith-Schuster ($5.7K/$6.0K) priced under $5K, I have zero interest. Eric Ebron ($3.5K/$4.9K) still has plenty of tread on his tires. But he may need a change of scenery to find an offense willing to provide him with a target share of substance.

Final notes on Las Vegas

Could we be at the precipice of another post-Age 30 QB elevation to elite status? Not at this stage for Derek Carr ($5.3K/$6.5K). He’ll never have the mentality to terrify secondaries beyond 40 yards, but he has no issue picking a defense apart underneath. Removing Week 15 when he departed very early due to injury, over his last five games, Carr has averaged 368 passing YPG. That’s not a typo. He certainly falls on my radar this week as a sexy stack with Waller. I’ll leave the Henry Ruggs III ($4.2K/$5.5K), Bryan Edwards ($3.7K/$4.9K), and Hunter Renfrow ($3.6K/$5.0K) roulette for someone else to explain.

New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers

1:00 PM EST

Charlotte, North Carolina

Bank of America Stadium

Vegas

Betting Line: Saints -3.5

Over/Under: 44.5

Moneyline: Saints (-187), Panthers (+158)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives

Saints:

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

OC Erik McCoy (No Practice - OUT - Calf)

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

DE Tanoh Kpassagnon (No Practice - Questionable - Calf)

ILB Pete Werner (No Practice - OUT - Hamstring)

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

CB Marshon Lattimore (Limited Practice - Questionable - Thumb)

CB P.J. Williams (Limited Practice - Questionable - Back)

SS C.J. Gardner-Johnson (Limited Practice - Questionable - Knee)

Panthers:

WR Shi Smith (Full Practice - Probable - Shoulder)

OT Taylor Moton (Limited Practice - Questionable - Groin)

OG John Miller (Full Practice - Probable - Illness)

OG Pat Elflein (Full Practice - Probable - Hip)

DT DaQuan Jones (Limited Practice - Questionable - Groin)

SS Justin Burris (Full Practice - Probable - Neck)

Lesson/s learned from New Orleans in Week 1:

We shouldn’t read into any of the trends displayed by Pete Carmichael Jr.’s offense in a game they won 38-3.

As for DC Dennis Allen’s defense, no tinkering with the coverage scheme rotation appears to have occurred.

Lesson/s learned from Carolina in Week 1:

OC Joe Brady used three-wide on only half of the offensive snaps on Sunday. That’s a 21% decline from a season ago. While not the greatest sign for the Panthers’ fantasy fortunes, it’s only the first game of the season. And the Gap-heavy approach that ranked at the eighth-highest rate last season was swapped out for Zone-heavy blocking. We’ll just need to wait a few more weeks to see how these revelations stand the test of time.

At least DC Phil Snow stood his ground by maintaining his featured Cover 3 with Cover 4 on the side.

Matchups to Target

Marquez Callaway, NO ($4.2K DK | $5.7K FD) vs. Panthers’ Cover 3 | 4

Holding last week’s 1/14/0 (2.4 FPs) receiving line against Marquez Callaway would be akin to writing off Aaron Rodgers after only managing 3.3 FPs in the same game. Whereas we zeroed in on Callaway last week based on the expectation that he’d be the go-to option for Jameis Winston, we actually have some coverage meat to add to those potatoes. When the Michael Thomas news initially broke, I had no way of knowing Callaway would take a path that led to him being the talk of training camp. I wrote him up as someone of interest based solely on his excellence facing Cover 3 defenses.

Carolina utilized a higher rate of Cover 4 last week, but they maintained their top-five rate of Cover 3. It’s all we need to know for Callaway exposure. During a career that currently extends to 11 games, Callaway’s FP/Rt spikes by 34% up to 0.36. On 30% of career snaps, Callaway has generated 52% of his receptions, and 50% of his yardage, against Cover 3. The Panthers may be unable to keep pace with the Saints, but you can guarantee the New Orleans will be forced to work a tad harder to score points than the record-setting string of end zone trips they took last weekend.

D.J. Moore, CAR ($5.9K DK | $6.7K FD) vs. Saints’ Cover 1 | 4

D.J. Moore started out on my target list for Week 2 during the preseason. Then word was passed along that the Saints had acquired Bradley Roby. The prospect of facing a Roby-Marshon Lattimore tandem quickly eliminated Moore from consideration. Then word was passed along that Lattimore was forced to undergo thumb surgery. So it’s Moore SZN, at least for this week, once again.

Why should we be on Moore? Per usual, the initial allure was based upon his history of coverage success. He’s at his best against Cover 1 and/or Cover 4 systems. His numbers are not off the charts like some others, but understandably so considering the QBs he’s worked with during his career. Still, Moore ranks 37th with a career 0.44 FP/Rt vs. Cover 1. On 25% of career snaps, Moore has found a home for 34% of receptions, 33% of his yardage, and 33% of total TDs. Moore also ranks 30th among all WRs with a career 0.42 FP/Rt when facing Cover 4. And it just so happens that New Orleans features Cover 1 and Cover 4 schemes. So it should come as no surprise to learn that, in two career games against the Saints, Moore has averaged 28.4 FPG.

Update: Keep a close eye on Lattimore’s status. If he plays, D.J. Moore is no longer a recommended Week 2 play.

Matchups to Avoid

Robby Anderson, CAR ($5.8K DK | $6.3K FD) vs. Saints’ Cover 1 | 4

We have no way of knowing where Bradley Roby will align in his return from suspension in Week 2. But we do know he favored the right side with Houston. And we also know Robby Anderson spends a bit more time on the left side. The final factor leading to the decision of adding Anderson as an avoid is ranking 88th with 0.27 FP/Rt vs. Cover 4 during his career.

Final notes on New Orleans

We can still add Jameis Winston ($6.1K/$7.7K) to our lineups without breaking the cap. A couple more performances like last week will stretch that statement to the limit. At least Alvin Kamara ($8.8K/$8.8K) didn’t erupt right out of the gate at a level that would lead him toward CMC salaries. There was a distinct reason the Saints handed the RB2 job over to Tony Jones Jr. ($4.4K/$4.9K), he earned it. The kid has the juice. If Kamara is forced to miss any games, Jones will be a thing. It sure would be nice to see Juwan Johnson ($3.6K/$5.1K) provided with the proper TE eligibility. The other WR worth stacking with Winston is Deonte Harris ($3.9K/$5.4K). And he actually has 19 more routes of experience over Callaway 😏.

Final notes on Carolina

Not much to see on the Carolina side outside of Moore. It must have been quite a feeling for Sam Darnold ($5.2K/$6.6K) to emerge victorious over the Jets last week. It’s a feeling that will be replaced by frustration in short order upon facing New Orleans’ brutal defense. It happened. Christian McCaffrey ($9.9K/$10.0K) has returned to his pre-injury salaries. Taking the leap with your Cash/SE lineups will require nerves of steel that CMC continues to see a number similar to the 30 touches he received in Week 1. Terrace Marshall Jr. ($3.3K/$5.0K) has a ton to offer, just not enough touches to feed his potential upside.

Denver Broncos at Jacksonville Jaguars

1:00 PM EST

Jacksonville, Jaguars

TIAA Bank Field

Vegas

Betting Line: Broncos -6.0

Over/Under: 45.0

Moneyline: Broncos (-276), Jaguars (+224)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives

Broncos:

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

TE Noah Fant (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)

OG Graham Glasgow (No Practice - Doubtful - Illness)

DT Shamar Stephen (Full Practice - Probable - Back)

DE Shelby Harris (Full Practice - Probable - Wrist)

OLB Bradley Chubb (Limited Practice - Probable - Ankle)

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

Jaguars:

OLB Lerentee McCray (Limited Practice - Questionable - Hamstring)

OLB Jordan Smith (Limited Practice - Questionable - Knee)

CB Tre Herndon (No Practice - OUT - Knee)

CB Tyson Campbell (Full Practice - Probable - Calf)

Lesson/s learned from Denver in Week 1:

An even higher rate of heavy personnel sets and a massive rate of Gap scheme run concepts in a Pat Shurmur offense. Nothing to see here.

Why attempt to fix it if it's not broken? That is essentially the opinion of DC Ed Donatell, packing along the same old Cover 6 and Cover 3-Seam mixture dating back prior to the 2020 season.

Lesson/s learned from Jacksonville in Week 1:

Something will need to be done to provide the Jaguars’ franchise with some credibility after becoming the laughingstock of the NFL in Week 1. New OC Darrell Bevell will become the old OC before the ink dries on his contract if he doesn’t stand up to HC Urban Meyer before it's too late. Garbage time TDs had already become the expectation for the bottom-feeding Jags long before Meyer took over. If I must, Jacksonville used spread personnel on 80% of snaps. The exact number from last season. I’ll just state that the run concept information is lacking from Week 1.

Speaking of coaches landing on the hot seat after a single week’s worth of results, no defense that I’ve been a witness to over at least the last five seasons can hold a candle to debauchery fielded by new DC Joe Cullen. The Jaguars sanctioned 449 total yards and 37 points to a team dangling all veterans to the highest bidder. It’s really a shame for Cullen. Branching off from the John Harbaugh coaching tree could’ve held considerable promise. Cullen may have his reputation permanently tarnished if he doesn’t come up with something fast. His “defense” continued to feature Cover 1 and Cover 3 at rates nearly identical to a season ago.

Matchups to Target

Tim Patrick, DEN ($4.6K DK | $5.4K FD) vs. Shaquill Griffin, JAX

Jerry Jeudy was placed on short-term IR due to an ankle injury. After scoring a TD last week within the outstanding coverage of James Bradberry, Patrick already appears to be in mid-season form. If true, it’ll serve as a massive overkill against Shaq Griffin. In Week 1, Griffin ranked 58th among 67 qualified outside CBs in YPCS, 50th in FPs allowed/coverage snap (FPCS), 37th in targeted passer rating, and 55th in air yards/coverage snap (AYCS). I wouldn't trust that Patrick will see enough volume to grace my Cash/SE lineup, but he is an excellent consideration in GPPs of all sizes with the potential to score multiple TDs.

Matchups to Avoid

Laviska Shenault Jr., JAX ($4.9K DK | $5.6K FD) vs. Bryce Callahan, DEN

If you read this piece last week, you may have noticed the Avoid recommendation for Sterling Shepard. All Shepard did against the Broncos was throw down a 7/113/1 receiving line. But let’s dig a bit deeper before calling the recommendation a complete failure. First things first, I simply cannot erase Shepard’s 27.3 FPs. He killed it. But what I could not have predicted is Donatell no longer having Bryce Callahan shadow to the side of the opposing team’s most dangerous slot threat. It seems the addition of 2021 first-rounder Patrick Surtain II provided Donatell with the confidence to stick the rookie across from Shepard on the play you see on YouTube below:

Callahan did permit Shepard to collect a 2/17/0 line, the only production he allowed in Week 1 over 29 coverage snaps. At the end of one week, Callahan ranks fifth-best in YPCS, fourth-best in FPCS, 11th-best in targeted passer rating, and ninth-best in AYCS. With Ronald Darby being placed on short-term IR today with a hamstring injury, Surtain is likely to kick outside in his place. That likely results in Callahan going head-to-head with Laviska Shenault Jr. on Sunday. One absolute lesson that Shenault will soon learn the difficult way:

Final notes on Denver

Even facing the Jags’ defense, I don’t think I could bring myself to commit $7K to rostering Teddy Bridgewater ($5.4K/$7.0K) on FanDuel. But he is squarely in play as a GPP punt on DraftKings. I nearly listed both Javonte Williams ($4.4K/$5.5K) and Melvin Gordon III ($5.9K/$5.9K) as players to target. But that opinion should be more than obvious after permitting Mark Ingram II to return from the grave to rush for 85 yards and score a TD. Javonte and MG3 should find little resistance toward finding value in this one.

Courtland Sutton ($5.2K/$6.2K) is a difficult read this week. His numbers were limited against an airtight Giants’ secondary last week. The Week 2 opponent is obviously cherry but, since he is more TD-dependent while he gets his legs underneath him again, he’s off my GPP list. KJ Hamler ($3.8K/$5.5K) will slide over to the slot to fill in for Jeudy. His salaries are mighty tempting this week. Noah Fant ($4.2K/$5.7K) is still popping up on the injury report with a knee ailment. It’s nothing of significance long-term, but I think the Broncos will play it safe this week by capping his involvement.

Final notes on Jacksonville

You’ve got to give Trevor Lawrence ($6.0K/$6.9K) some proper credit. Even in the face of one of the most embarrassing defeats I’ve been a witness to in the NFL, he never took his foot off that drive that made him the love interest of NFL GMs league-wide. Pretty safe to say this is not the week for Lawrence exposure. And what do we even do with James Robinson ($6.4K/$5.5K)? At least the previous regime knew enough to feed the man. Now we see him working behind Carlos Hyde ($4.4K/$5.4K) 😣. If anyone was unsure, pretend DJ Chark Jr. ($5.6K/$6.0K) and Marvin Jones Jr. ($4.7K/$6.1K) don’t exist this week.

Minnesota Vikings at Arizona Cardinals

4:05 PM EST

Glendale, Arizona

State Farm Stadium

Vegas

Betting Line: Cardinals -3.5

Over/Under: 50.5

Moneyline: Cardinals (-190), Vikings (+160)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives

Cardinals:

RT Kelvin Beachum (Limited Practice - Questionable - Ribs)

OLB Devon Kennard (No Practice - OUT - Hamstring)

SS Charles Washington (Full Practice - Probable - Thigh)

Vikings:

LT Christian Darrisaw (Limited Practice - OUT - Groin)

DE Everson Griffen (No Practice - OUT - Concussion)

ILB Eric Kendricks (Full Practice - Questionable - Quadriceps)

ILB Anthony Barr (No Practice - OUT - Knee)

ILB Nick Vigil (Full Practice - Probable - Ankle)

CB Harrison Hand (No Practice - OUT - Hamstring)

Lesson/s learned from Arizona in Week 1:

The personnel groupings from Week 1 are of little use due to the script provided by Arizona’s 38-13 beatdown of Tennessee. One thing is for certain, HC/OC Kliff Kingsbury has officially arrived with his Cardinals as imminent playoff threats. They maintained their reliance on Inside Zone blocking.

One of the most subtle hijackings of what was a reliable Cover 1-heavy defense, DC Vance Joseph shifts the Cards to featuring NONE of the most common schemes we see throughout the league. If I had to make a comparison to another team, it would be to the rotations of the Bears and Broncos.

Lesson/s learned from Minnesota in Week 1:

We need to see if it sticks, but new OC Klint Kubiak utilized spread personnel on over three-fourths of snaps last week. Considering they used a rate 52% less than last season, we already saw how it can alter the fates of its WRs after K.J. Osborn posted a 7/76/0 line. One aspect Kubiak left intact was the heavy usage of Zone blocking.

As one Cover 1-heavy team departs, another arrives to take its place. The Vikings entered Year 2 under the direction of co-DCs Adam Zimmer and Andre Patterson. They obviously didn’t approve of the results using last season’s scheme rotation, so they flipped it on its head. Eliminating some of their exotic packages, they funnelled all the available percentage points into feuling the 11th-highest rate of Cover 1. A most welcomed sight.

Matchups to Target

DeAndre Hopkins, ARI ($8.0K DK | $8.5K FD) vs. Vikings’ Cover 1 | 2

DeAndre Hopkins exposure requires zero arm twisting. But we need to be absolutely sure before taking the salary plunge on the WR2/WR2. If you didn’t watch Hopkins against Tennessee last week, free up some time to do so prior to Sunday. Just like Kyler Murray and a good number of Arizona’s players, Hopkins appeared a step faster… if humanly possible. We could be witnesses to a special season from these Cardinals.

Hopkins even ran five routes out of the slot last week. That’s quite a significant venture for a veteran that has run an overwhelming number of routes from outside left throughout his career. Providing even more intrigue to Hopkins exposure, he’ll face off with former longtime teammate Patrick Peterson. The Cover 1 of the Vikings still being unwrapped will be tested beyond its limits by Nuk. Over the last three seasons, Hopkins has scored 29% of his TDs on only 20% of routes vs. Cover 1.

Chase Edmonds, ARI ($4.9K DK | $6.0K FD) vs. Vikings’ Cover 1 | 2

We can expect to see the Minnesota defense improve as the season progresses due to the addition of talent in the secondary. That said, the one area where they still appear to be dysfunctional is in run defense. They’re fresh off permitting Joe Mixon to generate the most RB FPs from Week 1 (28), partly thanks to ranking third-worst in missed tackle rate. But Chase Edmonds isn’t the type of back that does his damage through contact.

For starters, Edmonds ran the sixth-highest percentage of team routes by a RB, for which he was awarded with a 14% target share. He split backfield touches with James Conner down the middle with 16 apiece. He assembled 14.6 FPs, just 0.1 under hitting value at his current salary. We want some Edmonds exposure in GPPs on the off chance that the Vikings manage to keep pace, or even take the lead. A positive negative script will render Conner useless, leaving all of those precious touches for Edmonds to absorb.

Update: If Eric Kendricks is ruled out, Edmonds’ upside only improves.

Matchups to Avoid

Kirk Cousins, MIN ($6.2K DK | $7.4K FD) vs. Cardinals’ Exotic Zone Mix

When I reviewed every one of the 2021 matchups during the offseason, this was one I circled in favor of Kirk Cousins. Let’s not forget that Arizona used the highest rate of Cover 1 last season. It was a too-good-to-be-true opponent. And it proved to be just that. With the knowledge that Joseph has severed over half of his ties to that previous Cover 1 rate, Cousins is set to face a collection of schemes that will mostly sidestep his precious Cover 1.

In fact, the only rate they'll utilize that is among the schemes that I collect is the 12th-highest rate of Cover 6. Over the last three seasons vs. Cover 6, Cousins has thrown two TDs, compared to five INTs. To make matters worse, his air yards/attempt drops by 26%, and his passer rating follows with a 27% decline. Look elsewhere this week.

Final notes on Minnesota

The only chance Minnesota will have to challenge Arizona is for Dalvin Cook ($9.1K/$9.2K) to have a classic Cook performance. If not, this game could get boring in a hurry. Without having enough snaps from Osborn to determine his worth in this spot, the singular shining light for Cousins in this game at WR is Justin Jefferson ($7.4K/$7.3K). He ranks 26th with 0.46 FP/Rt during his career against Cover 6. But he’s yet to find the end zone.

Even Mr. Touchdown, Adam Thielen ($7.1K/$7.6K), offers nothing in the way of upside facing Cover 6. He ranks 126th out of 156 qualified WRs over the last three seasons with 0.15 FP/Rt vs. Cover 6. Perhaps Tyler Conklin ($3.2K/$5.0K) emerges with a performance out of nowhere. And it’ll need to come from nowhere, with nothing statistically guiding us toward him.

Final notes on Arizona

Kyler Murray ($8.2K/$8.7K) was simply unstoppable last week. When he was drafted, the overriding comp for Murray was Russell Wilson. Three seasons into his career, Murray is proving that to be quite accurate. A good number of DFS folks will chase after the Week 1 results from Christian Kirk ($5.0K/$5.6K). While his coverage history suggested that to be a mistake, Kirk scored a 3/59/2 line last week against the Titans’ Cover 1. Those two scores triple his career total vs. Cover 1. Perhaps he’s learned a few tricks from Nuk. In spite of my reservations about investing in Rondale Moore ($4.0K/$4.9K) in season-long formats, he makes for an outstanding DFS target, particularly in GPPs.

Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

4:05 PM EST

Tampa, Florida

Raymond James Stadium

Vegas

Betting Line: Buccaneers -12.5

Over/Under: 52.0

Moneyline: Buccaneers (-735), Falcons (+520)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives

Falcons:

WR Frank Darby (No Practice - OUT - Calf)

Buccaneers:

WR Antonio Brown (No Practice - Probable - Knee)

OLB Shaquil Barrett (Full Practice - Probable - Back)

OLB Jason Pierre-Paul (No Practice - Probable - Hand)

CB Carlton Davis (Limited Practice - Questionable - Hamstring)

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

FS Jordan Whitehead (Full Practice - Probable - Hamstring)

Lesson/s learned from Atlanta in Week 1:

Personnel usage under new HC/play-caller Arthur Smith and OC Dave Ragone called for 56% of snaps with multiple TEs. It’s a rate that more than doubles the one from the previous season. Considering they selected Kyle Pitts earlier than any TE in NFL history, I'm pretty sure that rate alteration isn’t going to catch anyone off guard. And, just as Smith utilized during his time in Tennessee and Ragone in Chicago, the Falcons used a Zone-heavy approach to run blocking.

No coach on Atlanta’s staff came away looking good after being crushed by the Eagles 32-6 at home last week. New DC Dean Pees will need to straighten out his secondary in short order to prevent the franchise from tossing in the towel on the season, focusing their attention toward finding their QB of the future. And only the Texans followed as dramatic of a scheme shift toward a Cover 2 as Pees did with the Falcons. A rate so high that it and a top-14 rate of Cover 1 are only schemes of significance for opponent projecting purposes.

Lesson/s learned from Tampa Bay in Week 1:

Even a slight adjustment to OC Byron Leftwich’s offense would be quite a surprise. And nothing showcased last week gave any indication of providing one.

On the flip side, DC Todd Bowles’ scheme rotation was far from the one he used last season. However, with Jordan Whitehead absent, and Sean Murphy-Bunting departing early with a dislocated elbow, perhaps it was out of necessity to adjust to available personnel. Assuming that to be the root cause, the expectation is that we’ll see the scheme return to its previous form over the next few weeks.

Matchups to Target

Tom Brady, TB ($6.9K DK | $8.2K FD) vs. Falcons’ Cover 2

All you need to know about the GOAT this week is that he’ll face a defense featuring both of the shells he’s found the most success against during his storied career. Over the last three seasons, Tom Brady ranks eighth-best with 0.4 FPDb vs. the Cover 2 he’ll see on 50% of snaps on Sunday. When opposed by Cover 1 over the same stretch of time, Brady ranks fourth-best with 0.5 FPDb, and has tossed 35 TDs to 10 INTs. The only factor possibly standing in his way is script.

Antonio Brown, TB ($6.0K DK | $6.4K FD) vs. Falcons’ Cover 2

Antonio Brown put on quite a display on Thursday Night Football last week. And to think AB is in his Age 33 season. Priced as the WR22/WR22, Brown will face the Atlanta Cover 2 and Cover 1 during what appears to be the prime of his career. Over the last three seasons, Brown ranks 10th-best among all WRs against Cover 2 with 0.5 FP/Rt. And he also rates as the 14th-best with 0.57 FPRt vs. Cover 1.

Matchups to Avoid

Mike Davis, ATL ($5.5K DK | $5.5K FD) vs. Buccaneers’ Cover 4

The recommendation to avoid Mike Davis is entirely based on the expectation for a negative script. Davis has the type of receiving ability that can certainly allow him to do enough to matter, but all of that production will need to be collected through the air.

Final notes on Atlanta

If we only had foreknowledge that Matt Ryan ($5.6K/$6.7K) would be at the top of his game. Judging from last week, Ryan’s play appeared to be headed in the opposite direction. And that makes investing in Calvin Ridley ($7.5K/$7.7K) at his salaries difficult to stomach. The one individual on Atlanta I have my eye on is priced for value and guaranteed a significant role: Kyle Pitts ($5.2K/$5.5K). Just don’t go too crazy with the investment since this game could get ugly in a hurry.

Update: If Carlton Davis is ruled out, it would not only be good for the passing game options of Tampa Bay since the chances of them being put on ice early decreases, it would obviously be a boon to Calvin Ridley’s upside.

Final notes on Tampa Bay

Chris Godwin ($6.6K/$8.0K) is side-by-side with AB as the optimal stacks with Brady. But you shouldn’t need me to push you toward Godwin exposure. He’s clearly Brady’s go-to target. Do yourself the favor and fade each of Leonard Fournette ($5.1K/$5.9K), Ronald Jones II ($4.8K/$5.3K), and Giovani Bernard ($4.2K/$4.6K). The three-headed rotation may be good for Tampa Bay’s chances of repeating as champions; it provides very little in the way of DFS upside. Still not the week to go after Mike Evans ($6.1K/$6.7K). If Brady decides feeding Evans is his focus, there’s not much we can do. As for Rob Gronkowski ($4.7K/$5.8K), we have no way of knowing when Brady will zero in on his longtime running mate. But this is a smash spot for Gronk based on his three-year history of success vs. Cover 1 and Cover 2.

Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Chargers

4:25 PM EST

Inglewood, California

SoFi Stadium

Vegas

Betting Line: Chargers -3.5

Over/Under: 55.0

Moneyline: Chargers (-180), Cowboys (+151)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives

Chargers:

OT Bryan Bulaga (No Practice - Questionable - Groin/Back)

ILB Kyler Fackrell (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)

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

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

FS Nasir Adderley (Limited Practice - Questionable - Groin)

Cowboys:

OT Ty Nsekhe (No Practice - OUT - Illness)

DE DeMarcus Lawrence (No Practice - OUT/IR - Foot)

DE Chauncey Golston (Full Practice - Probable - Hamstring)

CB Nashon Wright (Full Practice - Probable - Personal)

FS Donovan Wilson (No Practice - OUT - Groin)

SS Damontae Kazee (Limited Practice - Questionable - Thigh)

Lesson/s learned from Los Angeles in Week 1:

It was rather surprising to see the rate of spread personnel decrease by 15% under new OC Joe Lombardi. The only individual of note who would suffer from the change is rookie Josh Palmer. Lombardi also focused the run blocking approach toward a Zone-heavy system.

After spending the last two seasons as the defensive backs coach with the Broncos, seeing new DC Renaldo Hill shift the Chargers to the exact schemes we see in Denver is entirely appropriate.

Lesson/s learned from Dallas in Week 1:

OC Kellen Moore also reduced the number of three-wide formations, by 23% to be exact. However, I am not endorsing this alteration. A very difficult matchup with the Buccaneers is a likely culprit to much of that rate. Until I see more evidence, I’m considering this to be the same offense that we saw a year ago.

It’s all about Cover 1, Cover 2, and Cover 4 under new DC Dan Quinn. Declines in Cover 3 and Cover 6 rates constructed the Cover 1 number of the present.

Matchups to Target

CeeDee Lamb, DAL ($6.4K DK | $6.8K FD) vs. Chargers’ Cover 0 | 4 | 6

Drawing ever so close toward being considered a coverage-free receiver, Lamb may still lack some of the nuances only acquired through experience, but he’s well on his way toward establishing himself as one of the league’s top-10 WRs. Everything in this matchup could clear up quite well in the Cowboy’s favor if Chris Harris Jr. and/or Derwin James Jr. are unable to take the field on Sunday. Be that as it may, Lamb was an addition as a target prior to learning of the injury report particulars.

With Dak Prescott at the helm, he is more than capable of willing both Lamb and Amari Cooper toward bracket-busting performances. That’s especially true without the need to feed Michael Gallup with his typical target share. Both Lamb and Cooper rank within the top-15 WRs in FP/Rt vs. Cover 6. Lamb will hold the advantage when facing LACs Cover 4. The final overwhelming consideration to consider in this game is that it pairs the highest-paced offenses from last season together. Even using the slightly reduced rates from Week 1, this game is expected to see upwards of 155 plays on Sunday afternoon. To give that number some perspective, the Giants-Washington game on TNF is only expected to see 108 plays. That’s a full 30%!

Update: As if we needed further reason in favor of Lamb exposure, Chris Harris Jr. has been ruled out.

Keenan Allen, LAC ($7.0K DK | $7.4K FD) vs. Jourdan Lewis, DAL

This is a matchup that I’ve been looking forward to since the schedule was announced. And it’s one for Keenan Allen, in particular, that caught my eye. Everything Dallas will attempt to utilize to slow Allen down will play directly into one of his strengths. In fact, the Cowboys’ rotation of coverage shells is a perfect stylistic match to Allen’s wheelhouse.

Then we have the single coverage matchup Allen will face from Jourdan Lewis. Lewis personally gave up 70% of Chris Godwin’s 28.5 FPs just this past week. But Allen is going to see multiple Chargers’ defenders on Sunday. We also just saw Allen go for 22 FPs against a tough Washington Cover 1 and Cover 4. Priced as the WR8/WR7, Allen is a shoe-in to exceed value in an ultra-fast-paced match.

Final notes on Dallas

No coverage in football can defend a passing offense without a pass rusher getting home in under three seconds. The same can be said for a defender attempting to contain a receiver. Beyond a certain number of routes, the receiver is going to come across the one the defender isn’t expecting. Use that mindset when setting your lineups this weekend. This game will essentially add an entire extra quarter of play, but will still count the same as each of the other games on the slate.

It’ll be extremely difficult to stay above the cash line without either Dak Prescott ($6.8K/$8.0K) or Herbert rostered. It was an extremely tough opener for Ezekiel Elliott ($6.2K/$7.5K) without Zack Martin’s elite run blocking paving lanes out in front. Los Angeles permitted only 13.5 FPs to Washington last week, but an extra quarter’s worth of plays should provide Zeke with the perfect get-right performance.

It was made very clear to the DFS nation last week how Amari Cooper ($6.8K/$7.8K) can explode with Prescott feeding him the ball (38.9 FPs). But enough scraps may even be left over for the fringe options. In fact, Cedrick Wilson Jr. ($3.1K/$4.9K) is essentially guaranteed to hit value on DraftKings. It’s likely the same deal for Blake Jarwin ($3.1K/$4.4K).

Final notes on Los Angeles

Unless James and/or Harris end up sitting, Prescott will easily face a more difficult challenge compared with Justin Herbert ($6.7K/$7.6K). He may have somehow come away from Week 1 without a target, but do not expect that to continue this week for Austin Ekeler ($7.3K/$7.0K). A WR6/WR11 price tag is the only deterrent. Lombardi was true to his word in heavily featuring Mike Williams ($6.1K/$5.6K) last week. In a spot potentially facing a shadow from rising star corner Trevon Diggs, Williams is still deserving of serious consideration. Finally, Lombardi’s high rate of heavy personnel should put Jared Cook ($3.9K/$5.4K) on the field with a significant number of snaps, in a game likely to see more total snaps than any other all season.

Tennessee Titans at Seattle Seahawks

4:25 PM EST

Seattle, Washington

Lumen Field

Vegas

Betting Line: Seahawks -6.5

Over/Under: 54.0

Moneyline: Seahawks (-287), Titans (+230)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives

Seahawks:

RB Rashaad Penny (No Practice - Doubtful - Calf)

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

WR Penny Hart (Full Practice - Probable - Concussion)

OT Jamarco Jones (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)

OG Damien Lewis (No Practice - Questionable - Groin)

DT Poona Ford (Full Practice - Probable - Shoulder)

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

CB D.J. Reed (Limited Practice - Questionable - Foot)

FS Marquise Blair (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)

Titans:

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

WR Josh Reynolds (Full Practice - Probable - Foot)

TE Anthony Firkser (No Practice - Questionable - Knee)

OLB Bud Dupree (Limited Practice - Questionable - Knee)

OLB Harold Landry III (Full Practice - Probable - Groin)

OLB Derick Roberson (Full Practice - Probable - Groin)

ILB Rashaan Evans (Full Practice - Probable - Groin)

ILB Jayon Brown (No Practice - Questionable - Hamstring)

ILB David Long Jr. (Full Practice - Questionable - Hamstring)

CB Caleb Farley (Full Practice - OUT - Shoulder)

CB Chris Jackson (Full Practice - Probable - Hamstring)

Lesson/s learned from Seattle in Week 1:

It’s more of the same with a heavily positive script skewing the personnel and run blocking rates for new OC Shane Waldron.

While it’s not the most significant from a numbers perspective, seeing DC Ken Norton Jr. shift Seattle away from the Cover 3 that defined The Legion of Boom is still as compelling as any scheme shift from Week 1. It appears the Seahawks will now feature a combination of Cover 2, Cover 4, and Cover 6.

Lesson/s learned from Tennessee in Week 1:

A 38-13 destruction at the hands of Arizona is certainly not the debut new OC Todd Downing anticipated. And the only reliable takeaway finds the offense continuing with it’s Outside Zone-heavy approach.

DC Shane Bowen continued featuring the Cover 1, Cover 3, and Cover 4 schemes from previous seasons.

Matchups to Target

DK Metcalf, SEA ($7.6K DK | $7.0K FD) vs. Jackrabbit Jenkins, TEN

DK Metcalf was provided with a spot to smash against an Xavier Rhodes-less Indianapolis secondary. But it just wasn’t meant to be. It turned out to be Tyler Lockett’s time to shine, scoring on a pair of long TDs. Metcalf still found paydirt once himself but, another week, another opportunity. It actually appears the Titans’ 2021 first-rounder Caleb Farley may be able to take the field this week. But it’s going to be Jackrabbit — don’t call him Janoris — Jenkins that is blessed with the task of trying to contain The Wolverine. Jenkins ranked 56th among 67 qualified outside corners in Week 1 in YPCS, 60th in FPCS, and 62nd in targeted passer rating. Those rates didn’t cut it against DeAndre Hopkins, and they will not stand up to Metcalf either. The issue with Metcalf is figuring out how to squeeze him in alongside others in prime positions.

Chris Carson, SEA ($6.1K DK | $6.7K FD) vs. Titans’ Cover 1 | 3 | 4

The Cardinals didn’t take full advantage of Tennessee’s run defense in Week 1. That’s because Arizona didn’t need to take over on the ground. Over the last three seasons, the Titans have stacked the box at the fifth-highest rate. This is actually one of the weeks where stacking the box may not be the best idea. Chris Carson generated the 11th-most FPs/attempt when presented with stacked boxes last season. Carson wasn’t quite able to put a defining run on the Colts last week. He’ll have the opportunity to do so against the Titans.

Final notes on Tennessee

This is most definitely a spot where Ryan Tannehill ($6.3K/$7.3K) could put up the type of numbers that matter. But will they compete with Prescott and Herbert? Another week of Derrick Henry ($8.3K/$8.0K) priced as if he’s set to face the Jaguars, another week where Henry is a simple fade.

It was entirely apparent that the timing between Tannehill, A.J. Brown ($6.9K/$7.1K), and Julio Jones ($6.3K/$6.3K) did not instantly poof into existence when the three finally got together in Week 1. It’s one thing for every team to not be provided with a training camp/preseason. It’s another entirely for just the core of your passing attack to fail in finding significant practice time together at this level of football.

Final notes on Seattle

If you can afford Russell Wilson ($7.5K/$8.5K), you fit him into the lineup. But he’s priced egregiously high this week after nearly posting a perfect passer rating against the Colts last week. We also see a significant bump in salary for Tyler Lockett ($7.2K/$7.2K) after his big opening game performance. I’ll not be one of those chasing after an encore. Outside of Metcalf and Carson, Gerald Everett ($3.6K/$5.0K) is likely the next choice if you simply must have your Seattle exposure fix.

Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens

8:20 PM EST (Sunday Night Football)

Baltimore, Maryland

M&T Bank Stadium

Vegas

Betting Line: Chiefs -3.5

Over/Under: 55.5

Moneyline: Chiefs (-190), Ravens (+160)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives

Chiefs:

RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Full Practice - Probable - Ankle)

WR Tyreek Hill (Full Practice - Probable - Toe)

OC Austin Blythe (Full Practice - Probable - Abdomen)

DT Derrick Nnadi (Full Practice - Probable - Hip)

DT Khalen Saunders (Full Practice - Probable - Glute)

DE Frank Clark (Full Practice - Probable - Hamstring)

DE Mike Danna (Full Practice - Probable - Groin)

Ravens:

WR Marquise Brown (No Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

WR Devin Duvernay (No Practice - Questionable - Groin)

OT Ronnie Stanley (No Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

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

LB Daelin Hayes (Limited Practice - Questionable - Knee)

CB Marlon Humphrey (Limited Practice - Questionable - Back)

CB Jimmy Smith (Limited Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

CB Chris Westry (Limited Practice - Questionable - Knee)

Lesson/s learned from Kansas City in Week 1:

Nothing of note was used by OC Eric Bieniemy in Week 1 that differs from his 2020 approach.

It was also much of the same in coverage from DC Steve Spagnuolo. A full collection of schemes blended to maximize confusion.

Lesson/s learned from Baltimore in Week 1:

With the number of times that OC Greg Roman has mentioned a desire to more prominently feature the pass, you’d think he’d finally try to set it in motion. It didn’t happen in Week 1.

DC Don Martindale will be tested this season without Marcus Peters. But Martindale appears steadfast in maintaining his Man-heavy schemes.

Matchups to Target

Ty’Son Williams, BAL ($5.5K DK | $5.7K FD) vs. Chiefs’ Cover 0 | 1 | 2

The only individual worthy of consideration in this matchup for Thursday-to-Monday or Sunday-to-Monday formats is Ty’Son Williams. The core of the Chiefs’ passing game is simply priced too high for consideration. HC John Harbaugh is attempting to toss shade over the plans for his backfield. We should absolutely expect Harbaugh to audition Latavius Murray, Le’Veon Bell, and Devonta Freeman to become the 1B option in the offense. Hoping Williams would carry the load himself is an unreasonable expectation. But Williams was very clearly the most outstanding back last Monday night. He posted a 97.0 elusive rating and was provided with a 15% target share. He’s still priced a tad too low, providing an opportunity at value.

Final notes on Kansas City

We all know Patrick Mahomes ($8.3K/$8.6K), Tyreek Hill ($8.4K/$8.7K), and Travis Kelce ($8.5K/$8.5K) are more than capable of hitting value despite their salaries. It’s just nearly impossible to roster them without handicapping the lineup. As for Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($6.7K/$5.9K) and Mecole Hardman ($4.7K/$5.2K), they have greatly disappointed with their significant opportunities to date.

Update: If Marlon Humphrey and/or Jimmy Smith are unable to play, it might be enough to seriously consider adding a Tyreek or Kelce. In any case, the Baltimore defense is a far cry from those we’ve seen pestering opposing offenses in recent seasons.

Final notes on Baltimore

Lamar Jackson ($8.0K/$8.3K) can always be counted on for elevating his floor with his legs. But the passing game failed to take off last week. With Marquise Brown ($5.6K/$6.2K) dealing with an ankle injury, his absence would be a devastating blow for the Ravens’ chances. If Brown does end up being ruled out, Sammy Watkins ($5.7K/$5.3K) and Mark Andrews ($5.9K/$6.2K) would likely absorb much of the available target share. That might be enough to begin seriously considering Watkins in this spot. MANdrews is always a consideration within a thin TE crop.

Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers

8:15 PM EST (Monday Night Football)

Green Bay, Wisconsin

Lambeau Field

Vegas

Betting Line: Packers -11.5

Over/Under: 48.0

Moneyline: Packers (-586), Lions (+427)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives

Lions:

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

RB Jamaal Williams (Full Practice - Probable - Chest)

WR Tyrell Williams (No Practice - OUT - Concussion)

WR Kalif Raymond (Limited Practice - Questionable - Thigh)

DT Michael Brockers (Limited Practice - Questionable - Shoulder)

DE Levi Onwuzurike (Full Practice - Probable - Hip)

DE Kevin Strong (No Practice - OUT - Concussion)

OLB Trey Flowers (Limited Practice - Questionable - Shoulder)

OLB Romeo Okwara (Limited Practice - Questionable - Shoulder)

Packers:

TE Jacob Deguara (No Practice - Doubtful - Concussion)

OG Lucas Patrick (Limited Practice - Questionable - Concussion)

OC Josh Myers (Full Practice - Probable - Finger)

DT Tyler Lancaster (Limited Practice - Probable - Back/Ankle)

SS Darnell Savage (Limited Practice - Questionable - Shoulder)

FS Vernon Scott (Limited Practice - OUT - Hamstring)

Lesson/s learned from Detroit in Week 1:

New OC Anthony Lynn utilized three-wide sets on 71% of snaps last week. And it also appears he will continue with the previous regime's usage of Gap-heavy run blocking.

New DC Aaron Glenn established his roots in Detroit, eliminating their top-five rate of Cover 1 in favor of a Cover 3 system.

Lesson/s learned from Green Bay in Week 1:

OC Nathaniel Hackett did show us that he will be featuring Posse personnel this season. But the Packers’ offense simply did not have an opportunity to provide reliable expectations during the 38-3 mauling they took from the Saints.

It appears that new DC Joe Barry will utilize a similar scheme rotation as the Rams.

Matchups to Target

Jared Goff, DET ($5.4K DK | $6.8K FD) vs. Packers’ Cover 4

The stage is set for Detroit’s offense to play the majority of the season from a negative script that is likely to result in the Lions’ up-tempo mode appearing to be their base offense. Nothing about Jared Goff looks pretty in this spot against the Packers. And he has a limited list of weekly contributors to rely upon. That number will dwindle further if Tyrell Williams is ruled out with a concussion. The absolutes that Goff will have in favor of exceeding value on Monday night:

  1. An impressive O-line
  2. Volume for days
  3. A rock-solid RB duo with the ability to contribute as receivers
  4. T.J. Hockenson
  5. Amon-Ra St. Brown

T.J. Hockenson, DET ($5.5K DK | $6.4K FD) vs. Packers’ Cover 4

Get Hock now while his price points remain below the upper tier. As long as he remains healthy, Hockenson is going to be a weekly highlight in value at the TE position. And Goff is fully aware T.J. is his clearest path toward proving he deserves to be an NFL starting QB.

Final notes on Detroit

On the one hand, you can almost feel sorry for the Lions facing a Green Bay team seeing red after being humiliated in Jacksonville by the Saints. On the other, Detroit proved last week against the 49ers that they can string together a ton of points in a hurry. Jamaal Williams ($5.2K/$5.4K) is another outstanding play in this spot. He’ll be making his return to the team that chose to let him walk in free agency. D’Andre Swift ($7.1K/$6.7K) is also a fine play, just far more expensive. Looking for a GPP dart at WR? Amon-Ra St. Brown ($3.5K/$5.0K) could be your guy if Williams sits.

Final notes on Green Bay

Nothing Detroit is going to do on defense is going to stop Aaron Rodgers ($6.6K/$8.0K) from leading the Packers to posting around 40 points. And he’s actually a decent value on DraftKings. Neither Aaron Jones ($6.8K/$7.0K) nor AJ Dillon ($4.5K/$5.2K) should find anything resembling resistance from a Lions’ defense that just surrendered 28.9 FPs to SF backs. You can count on Devante Adams ($8.3K/$8.3K) hitting value, but it’s also unlikely that you can afford him. I have nothing to offer in trying to determine who among Allen Lazard ($3.9K/$5.3K), Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($4.1K/$5.2K), or Randall Cobb ($3.7K/$5.0K) will produce.

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.

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