Matchup Risk/Against the Grain
Tough Matchup with Limited Upside
Tom Brady (DK – $7,700/FD – $9,400): Two weeks in to the 2017 season, there is only three QB scores over 30 points in four-point TD leagues. Last week Brady rebounded from a poor week to post to monster game vs. the Saints (447 yards and three TDs) with a huge completion rate (76.9). After two games, Houston ranks second in the league vs. the QB position (11.55 and 11.70 Fantasy points per game). They’ve faced two poor passing offenses (Jacksonville and Cincinnati) while playing one game on a short week. New England has multiple receivers banged up so I question whether Tom has enough options in his bag to deliver an impact game. The Texans have a top defense, but their secondary will get challenged in this game. The key to his upside will be the scoring ability of Houston to push the Patriots on the scoreboard. Last season Brady threw for 287 yards and two TDs at home vs. the Texans.
Aaron Rodgers (DK – $7,300/FD – $9,300): Rodgers doesn’t have the TD production (three TDs) after two weeks, but he has back-to-back game with over 300 yards passing while averaging 46 pass attempts per game. This week I don’t expect him to have his top WR Jordy Nelson while Randall Cobb has a chance to play even if it’s a limited role. The Bengals played two weak offense (Ravens and Texans) over the first two games holding them to 246 combined passing yards and one passing TD. Their success was helped by game score while both teams only attempted 41 combined passes. Cinci did allow 67 rushing yards and a TD to Deshaun Watson in Week 2. The Bengals have good CBs, but Aaron will use his whole receiving core to pass the ball. Laying in the weeds while having high value in TDs. This game has a chance to be more wide open than most would think. His questions at WR may lead to Rodgers being a lower percentage own.
Drew Brees (DK – $7,200/FD – $8,400): Brees threw the ball well in his first two starts (647 yards), but the lack of success in the run game led to only three combined TDs (all passing). Last year he threw for 750 yards and six TDs vs. the Panthers in two games highlighted by his game at home (465 yards and four TDs). Carolina hasn’t been challenged in the passing game in 2017 due to facing to below par passing attacks (San Fran and Buffalo). New Orleans has a poor defense, which points to a high scoring affair. Drew tends to be a much better player at home plus he needs over 300 passing yards and three TDs to be in consideration. Brees is projected by Scout to threw for 377 yards with two TDs. If the Panthers play at a fast pace, Drew is in play.
Matt Ryan (DK – $7,100/FD – $8,500): The Falcons have the best offense in the NFL again in 2017 and this comes with Julio Jones being relatively flat after two weeks. They run the ball well while challenging a defense on all areas of the field. Over his last 21 games, Matt gained 7.90 yards per pass attempt in each game. This just shows that no defense in the NFL (including Denver and Seattle in 2016) has been able to slow them down. As good as he’s been, Atlanta will have high value in some games running the ball. The Lions handled two one-dimensional offenses over the last two weeks (Giants and Cardinals – lost Johnson) with both teams playing with slow footed inaccurate QBs while playing behind a poor offensive line. Atlanta will score over 30 points and the Lions don’t have a great run offense meaning there will be plenty of balls in the air. Undervalued by the Scout team’s projection, which is directed by stats. Run to the window and push Ryan to Julio until the stop light comes on. I fully expect 300+ passing yards with 3+ TDs.
Derek Carr (DK – $6,800/FD – $8,400): The Raiders have a very good offense with high production from the RB position. Carr threw the ball well in his first two starts (262/2 and 230/3) with a high completion rate (75.0), but he only attempted 30 passes per game. Washington sits 20th in the NFL vs. QBs after two games. The Eagles beat the Redskins for 307 yards passing in Week 1 with two passing TDs while Trevor Gott passed for 224 yards and a TD last week. Washington is still trying to find their rhythm offensively. I expect both teams to run close to an even run/pass split. Derek has the weapons to pass for big yards if game flow dictates, but CB Josh Norman will slow down one WR. More steady than impactful in the daily games with his run game stealing his upside in TDs.
Cam Newton (DK – $6,600/FD – $8,100): The lack of defense by the Saints (32.3 Fantasy points per game) over the first two games of the season points to Cam having a big day despite losing his top TE. After two games, Cam only has 429 combined yards of offense with two TDs. His completion rate (59.6) is back in line with his career resume while still needing improvement. Newton played well on the road vs. the Saints in 2016 (322 passing yards and two TDs) while coming up short at home (14-for-32 for 182 yards and a TD). He rushed for 31 yards on six carries in Week 2 so he looks ready to regain his full role in the run game. He has an upside pass catching back who is still looking to find his identity in this offense plus a high scoring WR who will get more chances going forward. Favorable matchup, but he needs to walk before he can run. Seems to easy.
Philip Rivers (DK – $6,400/FD – $6,500): Rivers has a plus completion rate (73.6) after two games with 523 passing yards and four TDs while facing one elite defense (Denver). Last year he threw for 512 yards and three TDs in two games against the Chiefs. Kansas City played well defending Tom Brady (44.4 percent completion rate and no TDs) while showing risk in Week 2 (333 yards and three TDs). Kansas City did lose their top CB Eric Berry in Week 1. Philip has enough weapons to post a solid game, but he may need game score to get out of line. Possible improvement while the Chargers need a win in bad way.
Russell Wilson (DK – $6,300/FD – $7,800): Wilson has yet to hit the ball out of the infield in 2017. He has fewer than 200 yards receiving in both games (158 and 198) with only one TD. He’s been active as a runner (14/74) while his offensive line remains an area of concern. The Titans were league average vs. Derek Carr in Week 1 (262/2) while having no problems with the struggling Blake Bortles (223/1). Seattle shouldn’t have Jimmy Graham in the starting lineup plus WR Paul Richardson suffered a finger issue last week. Talented QB who can do more with less, but this offense has missing links and poor execution. I’ll let him beat me this week.
Ben Roethlisberger (DK – $6,200/FD – $8,000): Roethlisberger has been soft and steady in his first two games (263/2 and 243/2) while facing one top defense (Minnesota). Ben has two of the top three players drafted in 2017 plus the talented game breaker in Martavis Bryant. The Bears gave up 321 yards and a TD to talented Falcons’ passing game in Week 1 with more success in Week 2 vs. Jameis Winston (204/1). My boy back home has been listening to one too many calls on Sirius Radio about Ben on the road. Over the last two years, he only had a handful of games with his top three players healthy in the starting lineup. Bell missed 10 games in 2015 and four in 2016 while Bryant sat out 14 games last year while missing five games in 2015. Last year Pittsburgh averaged only 238 passing yards on the road with 1.3 passing TDs. In 2015. the Steelers passed 291.1 yards per game away from home with 0.9 TDs. I sense this is game for Le’Veon Bell to find his high level of play plus Chicago does lack upside offensively. More of an against the grain play while having the receiving talent to post good game on the road.
Matthew Stafford (DK – $6,200/FD – $7,900): On Monday night, Detroit didn’t need Stafford’s right arm to beat the Giants. He’s completed 71.0 percent of his passes on the year with six TDs. He posted a nice game (292/4) in Week 1 vs. an Arizona defense that was expected to have talent defending the pass. Last year Matt had four games with over three passing TDs in his first six games with two coming at home. The Falcons had no problem with the Bears’ passing offense in Week 1 (213 yards and a TD) while allowing 343 yards and two TDs to Aaron Rodgers after he lost a couple of his receivers. Detroit will need to throw in this game so Stafford will have plenty of chances to make plays in this game. In play for me while using his pawns (RBs) in the passing game to move the ball.
Jay Cutler (DK – $6,100/FD – $7,400): Cutler did a nice job in Week 1 (230/1) as game manager while showing a bounce in his step. Jay was willing to take his shots downfield with DeVante Parker being the deep target. Jarvis Landry did his best impersonation of Brandon Marshall. This offense is going to be balance, but Cutler can have upside if game score dictates. The Jets allowed third most Fantasy points to QBs after two weeks, but the overall passing stats have been below par out of the gate. New York has risk vs. the run as well so the Dolphins will be score in some way in this game. The lack of talent in the Jets’ offense should lead to plenty of runs.
Kirk Cousins (DK – $6,100/FD – $7,600): The Rams struggled to defend Washington’s run game (229 yards and two TDs) last week leading to a short game by Kirk Cousins (179/1) while improving his completion rate (66.7). Kirk came up short as well in Week 1 (240/1). The Raiders rank 23rd in defense vs. QBs after two games. They held Marcus Mariota to 256 passing yards and no TD. Josh McCown threw for 166 yards and two TDs in Week 2. Washington does have talent at WR while Jordan Reed has what looks like minor chest injury. The Raiders played well vs. the run over the first two weeks so Cousins may need to pass to win the game. He does play better at home and the Raiders will score.
Jameis Winston (DK – $6,100/FD – $7,400): In Week 2, Winston passed for 204 yards and a TD in a game that didn’t require a high volume of passes. The Vikings ranked 8th vs. RBs in 2016 while holding Drew Brees (291/1) and Ben Roethlisberger (243/2) to short games over the first two weeks of the season. The Vikings have talent on defense so this will be a tough test for the improving Tampa offense. Jameis is a fade for me.
Marcus Mariota (DK – $6,100/FD – $7,500): The Titans’ passing game has been flat over the first two weeks of the season (256/0 and 215/1) while Mariota has chipped in on the ground (9/50/1). The Seahawks’ defense held the Packers to 17 points in Week1 with Aaron Rodgers passing for 311 yards and a TD. The 49ers passed for only 99 yards last week while scoring only nine points. Tennessee will try to establish the run game while the Seahawks’ offense still has low upside in scoring due to some injuries to the receiving core and poor offensive line play. Marcus is an avoid in Week 2 in the daily games.
Carson Wentz (DK – $5,900/FD – $7,700) – Wentz has back-to-back strong games (307/2 and 333/2) while losing some accuracy last week (54.3). He’s averaging 42.5 passes per game compared to 37.9 in 2016. Last season he passed for 364 yards and no TDs on the road vs. the Giants, but he struggled at home (152/1). New York gave up 268 passing yards in Week 1 to the Cowboys while keeping Dez Bryant in check (2/43 on nine targets). Last year the Giants played without top CB Janoris Jenkins, which led to TD allowed to Marvin Jones by backup corner Eli Apple. Game score led to the Lions only gaining 122 yards passing with two TDs in Week 2. Carson has some talent in the receiving game while New York is stumbling into this week’s game. Fantasy owners will be attracted to him while playing at home, but this isn’t an elite matchup.
Alex Smith (DK – $5,900/FD – $7,400): Smith came up short in QB production in Week 2 (251/1) after his impact game vs. the Patriots (368/4), but he did gain 9.0 yards per pass attempt with a plus completion rate (75.0). Last season Alex had his best game of the season in Week 1 as well (363/2) against the Chargers with steady game on the road in Week 17 (264/2). LAC struggled in Week 1 vs. the QB position (238 combined yards and three TDs) while holding Jay Cutler to 230 yards and a TD. The Chargers played last week without starting CB Jason Verrett. The Chiefs’ offense looks more explosive while still relying on the RB position for success. More steady than explosive, but Smith could offer upside if game score gets out of line.
Sam Bradford (DK – $5,700/FD – $7,000): Reading between the lines in Mike Zimmer’s press conference, it appears Bradford has a bone bruise and I have a feeling his timetable to return has a Bryce Harper’s path in 2017 (about six weeks). I haven’t read this anywhere so I’m speculating. For now, Bradford should miss this week’s game.
Trevor Siemian (DK – $5,500/FD – $7,400): After two weeks, Siemian is the talk of the town in the Fantasy market. His success is driven by seven combined TDs while his combined yards (483) comes in at league average. Overall, Trevor only has 30 pass attempts per game. He is a game manager with some TD ability in the right matchups. He doesn’t have a great TE or strength at WR3. Denver has a top defense so Siemian won’t need to throw to win most games. The Bills weren’t challenged in the passing game over the first two games of the year (Jets – 187/0 and Panthers – 228/0). Buffalo has risk in the secondary and they will get exposed by a top passing attack. The Broncos don’t fit into that category. Both teams want to run the ball, which with limit possessions and TDs in the passing game. Avoid for me even with a winnable matchup and a favorable salary.
Eli Manning (DK – $5,300/FD – $7,300): Eli has a plus completion rate (72.9) after two games, but he’s gained only 6.6 yards per attempt with only one TD. New York can’t run the ball or make big plays downfield due to poor play by their offensive line. Last season he passed for 613 yards and five TDs in two games vs. the Eagles highlighted by his start at home (257/4). Philly held Kirk Cousins to 240 yards and a TD in Week 1 while Alex Smith passed for 251 yards and a TD. Manning’s salary is at the bottom of the QB barrel while still having the magic Odell Beckham at his disposal who played only 34 of 56 snaps Week 2. New York has upside in passing yards if Eli has a bigger passing window. His accuracy is there, but Manning would rather get rid of the ball quickly than get hit looking deep downfield. Possible flier due to salary and receiving weapons. He needs Beckham on the field for a full game.
Andy Dalton (DK – $5,100/FD – $6,800): Dalton struggled in his first two games (170/0 and 224/0) while playing against two strong defenses. Cinci hasn’t scored a TD in 2017 with Andy tossing four Ints in Week 1. The Packers had no answer for the Falcons’ offense last week. Matt Ryan passed for only 252 yards and a TD, but game score led to minimal chances in the second half. He completed five passed over 20 yards. In Week 1, the Packers played well vs. the Seahawks’ passing game (158/0). This was helped by a poor offensive line and no run game. The Bengals fired their offensive coordinator last week so this week’s game plan will be interesting. Last year Dalton averaged 273.8 passing yards on the road with 1.3 passing TDs per game. The Packers will score in this game so Cinci will need to throw to win. Seems like a waste of money, but there is a guy named A.J. Green who has the talent to help Andy find his way. Possible flier.
DeShone Kizer (DK – $5,000/FD – $6,900): Kizer is going to be a tough ride in 2017. He has talent, but his accuracy under fire is going to be a problem. After looking ok in Week 1 (239 combined yards and two TDs), DeShone struggled vs. the Ravens’ defense (206 combined yards with three Ints and a lost fumble). He lost his top WR plus Kenny Britt remains on the milk cartoon in Cleveland. The Colts allowed over 20 Fantasy points to QBs in the first two games in four-point TD leagues. The Browns can run the ball, but Indy held the Rams and the Cardinals to 2.7 yards per rush. This points to the Colts stacking the box forcing Kizer to beat them with his right arm. Both Jared Goff (306/1) and Carson Palmer (332) passed for over 300 yards so he may not be dead in the water. To be an option, DeShone needs 250 combined yards with more than two TDs. Let’s leave him to diehard Browns’ fans.
Tyrod Taylor (DK – $4,900)/FD – $7,200): Taylor passed for 339 yards and two TDs over his first two game while attempting only 26.5 passes per game. His floor is helped by his value in the passing game (8/38 and 8/55). His WR core continues to show risk with Zay Jones (1/21 and 2/18) struggling out of the box. The Broncos have one of the best passing defense in the league with strength at CB. This a poor matchup for Tyrod and I would avoid him this week.
Jacoby Brissett (DK – $4,800/FD – $6,500): Brissett passed for 216 yards with no TDs and a bad Int vs. the Cardinals. He rushed for 22 yards on six carries. His value will rise with each game played and I expect him to get T.Y. Hilton more involved going forward. Last week Arizona forced Jacoby to beat them with the run game and his TE. Cleveland held Ben Roethlisberger to 263 yards and two TDs in Week 1. Game score and turnovers led to the Ravens relying more on the run game vs. the Browns. Joe Flacco did pass for 217 yards and two TDs. Real short resume for Brissett. Two TDs and 250 combined yards is a reasonable outcome, but it looks like another low scoring game with both teams just trying to win a game while playing the game close to the vest offensively.
Mile Glennon (DK – $4,700/FD – $6,400): After two games, Glennon has a 67.1 percent completion rate while gaining only 6.0 yards per pass attempt. He’s averaged 42.5 passes per game. Game score led to Mike passing for 301 yards vs. the Bucs with a TD and two Ints. The Falcons held him to 213 yards and a TD in Week 1. Pittsburgh faced a backup QB (Case Keenum – 167 passing yards and no TDs) last week while DeShone Kizer added backend QB value (239 combined yards with two TDs). Glennon’s WR core is well below league average with his best asset being scat back Tarik Cohen. Pittsburgh should score in this game pushing Chicago to the air. More boring than explosive.
Deshaun Watson (DK – $4,700/FD – $7,000): With three days to get ready for his first NFL start, Watson passed for 125 yards with no TDs and no Ints vs. the Bengals on the road. His only value came in the run game (5/67/1) while having an undermanned receiving core (injured WRs and no real option at TE). This week he’ll face the Patriots’ on the road, which is a tough matchup. I’m sure New England will take away DeAndre Hopkins forcing Deshaun to look for his secondary receiving options. He’ll need the Texans to have success running the ball to help his passing window. The Patriots struggled vs. the QB in both Week 1 (368/4) and Week 2 (356/2), but Houston doesn’t have the talent in the passing game to challenge those numbers. His best value may come in garbage time when New England pulls the goalie in their pass defense. A Watson/Hopkins hookup will be totally against the grain.
Case Keenum (DK – $4,500/FD – $6,000): With Sam Bradford battling a bone bruise, Case should get the start again this week. He passed for only 167 yards vs. the Steelers in Week 2 with a short completion rate (54.1) while gaining only 4.5 yards per pass attempt. The Bucs’ defense has been getting some press over the last week based on the play in Week 1, but they did allow 301 yards passing and a TD. The Vikings have an upside RB with pass catching ability plus viable receiving options at WR and TE. I respect Minnesota’s offense so Keenum many not be dead in the water if you want to take a short at the backend of the QB pool in the daily games with a short price point.
Josh McCown (DK – $4,500/FD – $6,500): The lack of weapons and poor offensive line have led to McCown gaining only 5.5 yards per pass attempt after two games. He has under 200 yards passing in his two starts (187/0 and 166/2) with a solid completion rate (67.2). Miami allowed 331 yards and a TD to the Chargers in Week 2. He’ll get TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins back in the starting lineup, which is a slight upgrade. Jermaine Kearse has two straight solid games (7/59 and 4/64/2) while the Jets are still waiting for Bilal Powell and Robby Anderson to add value to this offense. The Dolphins will rush the QB plus run the ball a lot so McCown doesn’t look like a value play in Week even with a low salary.