Matt Stafford, Detroit Lions vs. New England Patriots If you listened to the podcast during the offseason you know that I chose Matthew Stafford as my “2018 Bromance.” This means I am invested heavily in his success this year in our inaugural year as The Fantasy Whisperers. So far I like what I see. Why you ask? No doubt, you are thinking of his near-death experience on MNF against the Jets. I will catch some flak for not only that one, but also his first half performance last week against the 49ers that saw him overthrow Marvin Jones four times on would-be touchdowns! But Stafford recovered nicely throwing for 3 touchdowns, 347 yards and no interceptions. But what I love the most about Stafford for this game and for the weeks to come is that his defense is playing terribly. This should make for a lot of game scripts that will cause Matt to do what he does best…..throw….and throw far…..and throw a ton!
Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Tennessee Titans Admitting Blake Bortles is a good fantasy football option is like getting caught checking someone out. You know it, they know it, you feel very weird inside, but hey it could work out right? Blake is coming off a very impressive showing at home against the Patriots. He threw for 376 yards 4 TDs to 4 different receivers and added 35 yards rushing. It seems as if Bortles is coming into his own. He is surrounded by offensive and defensive talent and is taking what the defense gives him more times than not. This week the defense should be giving him an exploitable matchup as Bortles and the Jags play the Titans, who have allowed an average of 11.7 yards per depth of target. When you get caught putting Bortles in your starting lineup, stare back with confidence, flash a smile, and be a winner.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers I feel like I may be destined to write about Ryan Fitzpatrick in every Play or Stay Away article this year, unfortunately Tampa Bay may not agree. After this week Jameis Winston may be starting again for the Buccs as he comes off of suspension. Is it true if you don’t use it, you lose it? What? This may be your last chance to roll with Fitzmagic! Well you should seize the opportunity because the Steelers have allowed back to back multiple TD throwing QBs. That includes just allowing Patrick Mahomes to destroy them for 6 TDs on their home turf in Pittsburgh. This game is in Tampa and I see no reason to start benching Fitz now.
Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals at Carolina Panthers Joe Mixon’s injury would normally be a tough pill for a team to swallow, but the Bengals have a “spoonful of sugar” if you will, in Gio Bernard. Last year Mixon was forced to miss 4 games and in those games Bernard stepped up in a big way, averaging almost 20 touches and just under 110 all purpose yards per game. Based on last year some would not have this as a favorable matchup but so far this year the Panthers have been favorable to opposing running backs. They also just allowed Tevin Coleman to average a healthy 6.7 YPC last week.
Dalvin Cook and/or Latavius Murray, Minnesota Vikings vs Buffalo Bills This is more about the Bills than it is about the Vikings backs. We don’t know for sure if Dalvin Cook will be ready for week 3 after he pulled his hammy in OT against the Packers last week. He has stated that he is fine and may suit up, however I don’t know that it matters. You should look at starting both Murray and Cook as the Vikings have now allowed four top 30 fantasy running back weekly finishes in only two games played.
New England RBs at Detroit Lions This is very simple. The Lions just got done making Matt Breida the NFL’s leading rusher through two weeks. He has 184 yards on the season after facing the Lions. He only had 46 yards coming into the game last Sunday. I think the fact that the Patriots are also nearly a TD favorite helps as does the fact that they are 10th in the NFL in plays ran per game with 66.5.
DeDe Westbrook, Jacksonville Jaguars vs Tennessee Titans Listen, I think you can make a case for all the Jags receivers in this one against a Tennessee team that surrenders 86.9 percent of all opposing teams receiving yardage to the WR position. Westbrook has great upside in an offense that is clicking and he has seen 11 targets through 2 weeks.
Will Fuller, Houston Texans vs New York Giants All offseason the Fantasy Football community screamed that regression was coming for Will Fuller. Well it didn’t come last week as he caught 8 of 9 targets for 113 yards and a TD. The best thing to see in this game was that his day wasn’t made on just the deep ball as it was unsustainably done last year. His longest catch was for 39 yards. Fast forward to this week and the Texans get the Giants at home. The Giants have failed to get pressure consistently on opposing QBs will be key to stopping the Watson and Fuller connection as the routes need time to develop. This could be a nice blow up spot for not only Fuller but the Texans offense.
Sammy Watkins, Kansas City Chiefs vs San Francisco 49ers The Chiefs paid Sammy Watkins a considerable amount of cash this offseason. After week one’s Tyreek Show many pundits were curious if the Chiefs had made a financial mistake or had overpaid a decoy. Week 2 was a different story as Sammy caught 6 of 7 targets for 100 yards and a TD. He was also overthrown on a deep ball TD as well as given a carry in the run game on a sweep that netted 31 yards. As this team continues to boast a terrible defense that will force them to stay in shootouts, I like the weapons around Mahomes to stay hot, especially against San Fran this week. The 49ers were just torched by Stafford for 347 yards and 3 TDs last week.
Evan Engram, New York Giants at Houston Texans Evan Engram is no doubt getting less target share than last year but he is still getting just about 14% on a team that could be in a shootout in this one. I like Engram as he has taken over as the #2 receiving option in NY.
Jimmy Graham, Green Bay Packers at Washington Redskins We got a little taste of what Aaron Rodgers was gushing about with Jimmy last week when the Vikings played the Packers in Green Bay. Jimmy caught 6 balls for 95 yards and even had a TD taken off the board on a bogus holding call. With Rodgers hampered I like the way he uses Graham as a safety blanket to slip behind the defense. Look for that to continue this week.
George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers at Kansas City Chiefs It has been well documented that the Chiefs defense struggles to stop opposing offenses. But a main vein of that production has been through the Tight End position. Look at last week, Jesse James caught all 5 of his targets and gashed the Chiefs for 138 yards and a TD and nearly scored another. The 9er pass catchers are banged up or not as reliable as Kittle. Fire him up in one of the highest over/unders of the week.
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts at Philadelphia Eagles I am concerned that I may have been too high on Luck to start the season. He is playing well enough and I expect him to regain some of that elite QB shimmer he once had but so far through two games he is merely averaging 5.93 yards per completion and 4 touchdowns to 3 interceptions. On top of his own limitations coming back from injury, the Eagles have a fierce pass rush and are 9th best in Points Allowed per game.
Case Keenum, Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens Case Keenum has quietly been QB17 in Fantasy this year. He has two stellar WRs and the benefit of a hot committee of running backs in Denver. However, if you are looking to roster Case this week, I urge you to look elsewhere as the Broncos travel to Baltimore to face the Ravens. John Harbaugh’s squad plays well on defense, especially against opposing fantasy quarterbacks allowing only 167.5 passing yards on average.
Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Rams I am not serving up an indictment on Philip Rivers, I am warning you of starting your quarterbacks against the Rams defense. Rams have allowed ZERO passing TDs this year. They have picked off opponents 4 times. They are allowing under 200 passing yards on averaged and their opponents average merely 5.9 yards per completion. The QB position is deep, you can find a better option than Rivers this week. Cough! Cough! Look above.
Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks vs Dallas Cowboys Can someone please check Pete Carroll’s prescription on spectacles? I get that they spent a high draft pick on Rashaad Penny, but he has not looked good. You know who has? Chris Carson. But yet, in the second half of the Bears game it was as if Pete Carroll was your embarrassing mother at the grocery store paging you to come up to the front. He completely lost Carson in that game and then blamed it on Carson being “gassed” from special teams. It is because of Carroll’s inexcusable inability to use a guy in Carson who averages 5.8 YPC this year that makes me want to steer clear of this backfield going forward. Additionally the Cowboys have a respectable run defense that is only allowing an average YPC of 3.7 to opposing backs.
Alex Collins, Baltimore Ravens vs Denver Broncos From one coach who clearly doesn’t know what he has to the next. Whether it be due to fumble issues or John Harbaugh simply hating Alex Collins, the Ravens have perplexing only given Alex Collins 20 total touches through two games. Buck Allen has emerged as the coach’s pet and the Broncos are inside the top 10 in yardage allowed to opposing backfields. It looks as if the Ravens do not trust Alex Collins and therefore I cannot either.
David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals vs Chicago Bears Like Usher sings in his classic song “Burn,” it’s gonna burn for me to say this but its coming from the heart, its been a long time coming but we done been fell apart. Wipes tears from eyes. This one burns bad. David Johnson is incredibly talented and should be utilized as such. However, for some god awful reason, the Cardinals are not getting the most out of their stud. They have issues across their entire offense and I do not see that getting better any time soon as the Chicago Bears and Khalil Mack come to town. This isn’t to say DJ shouldn’t be started but if you have the depth and can afford it, he can’t be counted on for sure fire RB1 and maybe even RB2 numbers.
Devin Funchess, Carolina Panthers vs Cincinnati Bengals I am not so sure that this is entirely Devin Funchess’ fault here. I understand he saw 9 targets last week and caught 7 of them for 77 yards. But in a shootout game that saw Cam throw 3 TDs against the Falcons in Atlanta, none of those touchdowns went to Funchess. He will have a decent floor due to his yardage in the passing game, but I honestly believe the Panthers have more scoring weapons for inside and outside of the red zone, and that limits his upside. Thr run game features a great one, two, three punch with Cam, Anderson, and CMC and I think the panthers like it that way. Additionally with the emergence of DJ Moore and Jarius Wright(who both scored last week) at receiver, it is hard for me to see a path to consistent production for Funchess.
Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars Corey Davis and the rest of the Titans had so much promise heading into this year. New OC, new head coach, and a bright young QB had the Fantasy community salivating at the idea of the upside. It has not translated very well to real football, however. I don’t see a fulfillment of those hopes and wishes coming any time soon with Blaine Gabbert at QB, let alone against the elite secondary of the Jags.
Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears at Arizona Cardinals I need to admit that I was wrong on Robinson. I did not trust Mitch Trubisky to be able to drive the ball downfield enough to make Robinson relevant, however HC Matt Nagy has moved him all over the formation creatively in efforts to get him open. It has worked as he has caught 14 of 21 targets for 144 yards this year. My fear is that although the Cardinals have been bad, Patrick Peterson remains one of the best CBs in all of football and the Cardinals are back at home and eager to bounce back. I think you can temper expectations on A Rob this week.
TE Eric Ebron, Indianapolis Colts at Philadelphia Eagles I think his two touchdowns are giving people ideas of grandeur. He will not be scoring a TD in every game this year and has ran only 34 routes ot Jack Doyle’s 81. He will have his games as a RZ weapon but is extremely TD dependent.
Trey Burton, Chicago Bears at Arizona Cardinals Similar to the Titans and some of their weapons, the Bears offense has been underwhelming and that includes the ultra-hyped Trey Burton. He has only 10 targets for a measly 35 yards through two weeks. He will need a score to make his day on most weeks and this game doesn’t line up as a shootout with an over/under of only 38 with the Bears favored by 6.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jacksonville Jaguars vs Tennessee Titans Similar to the other TEs in this week’s piece ASJ will need a TD to make him worth the start. The bottom line is he has taken the backseat to the receivers in the passing offense and was never the first option in the red zone on a team with Fournette, who should be back this week.