Fantasy Football: Gdula's Game Notes for Week 3
Oakland at Minnesota
Baltimore at Kansas City
Atlanta at Indianapolis
Detroit at Philadelphia
Denver at Green Bay
NY Jets at New England
Miami at Dallas
Cincinnati at Buffalo
Carolina at Arizona
NY Giants at Tampa Bay
Houston at LA Chargers
New Orleans at Seattle
Pittsburgh at San Francisco
Oakland at Minnesota
Spread: MIN (-8.5) (% of Money on the Favorite: 45%)
Over/Under: 43.5 (% of Money on the Over: 86%)
Oakland Offense Notes
- Derek Carr ($6,700) and the Oakland Raiders are 8.5-point underdogs on the road against numberFire's 10th-ranked pass defense in Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play metric. Carr and Oakland rank fourth offensively via the same metrics, but Oakland's implied team total is well shy of 20 points (17.5). They rank 30th in adjusted seconds per play based on pre-snap win probability.
- Through two games, tight end Darren Waller ($5,900) leads the team in target share (23.8%), followed by deep-play threat Tyrell Williams ($6,200; 22.2%). Williams has combined for 44.4% of the team's deep and red zone targets, the eighth-highest rate of high-leverage -- or money -- targets in the NFL. The only other pass-catcher with double-digit targets for Oakland is slot man Hunter Renfrow ($5,000; 11), whose average depth of target is a lowly 5.6 yards downfield.
- In a glimpse of what we could see this week, running back Josh Jacobs ($6,500) saw his snap rate plummet from 74.1% in Week 1 to 46.2% in Week 2, though he still saw 4 red zone carries to give him 12 total through two games. Problematically, he has just one target on the season.
- Overall, the expected offensive output makes the Raiders nothing more than a game stack option, but Waller is still viable in cash games due to his elevated snap rate (100.0% and 95.4% through two weeks).
Minnesota Offense Notes
- Kirk Cousins' ($7,200) pass attempts jumped from 10 to 32 in Week 2 when the Minnesota Vikings couldn't take the air out of the ball due to an early deficit. Cousins has increased expected scoring on just 36.4% of drop backs. The only quarterbacks with at least 20 drop backs and lower Passing Success Rates are the Miami Dolphins’ quarterbacks: Ryan Fitzpatrick (35.7%) and Josh Rosen (20.0%). Oakland ranks 17th in adjusted pass defense through two weeks.
- Through two games, Adam Thielen ($7,000) has 26.7% of the team's targets, and Stefon Diggs ($6,700) has 23.3%. Oakland ranks a beatable 24th in FanDuel points per target allowed to slot receivers through two games, a plus for Thielen. Diggs has 50.7% of the team's air yards (Thielen is at 43.7%) and had 3 end zone targets last weekend. Both own great workloads, but as an 8.5-point favorite, Minnesota could limit the targets again, pushing them out of core play territory.
- Kyle Rudolph ($4,800) is a punt option as a home favorite with a high implied team total and has played every offensive snap so far.
- Dalvin Cook ($8,300) has produced at least 25.0 FanDuel points in each game so far while topping 20 carries and 2 targets in each game. His snap rate has hovered around 70.0%, and as a huge home favorite, he's a near lock for cash games.
Core Plays: Dalvin Cook
Secondary Plays: Darren Waller, Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen
Tournament Plays: Tyrell Williams, Kyle Rudolph
Baltimore at Kansas City
Spread: KC (-7) (% of Money on the Favorite: 61%)
Over/Under: 53 (% of Money on the Over: 99%)
Baltimore Offense Notes
- The Baltimore Ravens rank top-five in both adjusted passing efficiency (first) and adjusted rushing efficiency (fifth) through two games while Kansas City is 23rd and 22nd, respectively, on the defensive end of things. That's why the over/under here is well over 50 points (55.0).
- Lamar Jackson ($8,500) upped his rushing attempts from 3 to 16 last week, totaling 120 yards on the ground in Week 2. He's put up more than 30.0 FanDuel points in each game so far, and he's very much in cash-game consideration despite his salary.
- Jackson has fixated on two targets through two weeks, which helps for stacking purposes. Marquise Brown ($6,100) has a 29.5% target share through two games, including 42.9% of the team's deep targets. Kansas City has let up 7 catches on 10 deep attempts for 220 yards and 2 touchdowns already this season.
- Mark Andrews ($6,800) actually has a higher target share at 29.5% and has a 21.4% deep target share of his own while running around two-thirds of routes in each game. He's not priced out, but he's not a play for cash games with Zach Ertz just $100 more expensive.
- The running back committee favored Mark Ingram ($7,100) in Week 2 as he played 58.2% of snaps while Justice Hill ($4,700) and Gus Edwards ($5,000) each played 20.3%. Ingram ran 43.2% of pass routes, as well, according to ProFootballFocus. He's a justifiable play if stacking this game -- and who isn't? -- but he shouldn't be a core play as a road underdog.
Kansas City Offense Notes
- Patrick Mahomes ($9,200) squares off with the eighth-ranked adjusted pass defense in football through two games as a home favorite. Mahomes has been pressured at the third-lowest rate in football after adjusting for opponent. In a large sample of 11 games last season against top-12 pass defenses, Mahomes averaged 0.32 Passing NEP per drop back (roughly three times the league average), as well as 8.62 yards per attempt. Per-game, he averaged 319.6 yards, 2.8 touchdowns, and 0.9 picks.
- In Week 2, Sammy Watkins ($7,100) saw 13 of 44 attempts (29.5%) to lead the team and converted 139 air yards into just 49 total yards. It's a bounce-back spot despite the matchup, as his usage has been primo this season.
- Demarcus Robinson ($6,700) and Mecole Hardman ($6,300) soaked up a lot of the big plays in Week 2, particularly Robinson, who had 6 targets (4 deep) for 172 yards and 2 touchdowns. Hardman had 3 deep balls of his own, catching one for a 42-yard touchdown and having a fourth deep ball result in a called-back touchdown.
- Travis Kelce ($8,000) has a 21.8% target share and has come up empty on five red zone targets. He's as playable as always if you can get up to him.
- Running back LeSean McCoy ($5,500) has a "shot" to play in Week 3. Damien Williams ($6,400) missed practice on Wednesday. Value plays could emerge in Darrel Williams ($4,600) and Darwin Thompson ($4,500).
Core Plays: Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, Sammy Watkins, Marquise Brown, Travis Kelce
Secondary Plays: Demarcus Robinson, Mark Andrews
Tournament Plays: Mecole Hardman, Mark Ingram
Atlanta at Indianapolis
Spread: IND (-2) (% of Money on the Favorite: 62%)
Over/Under: 47 (% of Money on the Over: 57%)
Atlanta Offense Notes
- Julio Jones ($8,300) ranks 10th in combined deep and red zone target shares among all players through two games and has accounted for 32.0% of the Atlanta Falcons' air yards. Calvin Ridley ($6,500) is 17th in money target share after seeing 3 deep targets in each game and 2 red zone targets as well.
- Austin Hooper ($5,800) played 75.8% of snaps last week and could be a game-stack option but nothing more.
- Matt Ryan ($7,800) squares up with the 23rd-ranked pass defense in football but is off to an inauspicious start (0.10 Passing NEP per drop back and 5 of 15 on deep passes). The Indianapolis Colts rank 32nd in seconds per play after adjusting for game situation; Atlanta is 17th. A dome game with a total near 50 could be a shootout, but pace is a possible killer here.
- Devonta Freeman ($6,200) and Ito Smith ($5,300) are tough sells afters splitting snaps the first two games. Freeman carved out an edge in Week 2 but has 19 carries and 4 targets through two games.
Indianapolis Offense Notes
- The NFL's slowest team through two games could contain the pace against the NFL's 30th-ranked pass defense and 24th-ranked rush defense after adjusting for opponent. Indy is 13th and 2nd, respectively, on the offensive side of things.
- Jacoby Brissett ($6,800) has thrown deep only 7 times through two games, a 12.7% deep ball rate, 26th in the NFL. He's provided decent fantasy totals but lacks a ceiling (his 75th-percentile projection for Week 3 is just 22.7 FanDuel points).
- Brissett has fed T.Y. Hilton ($7,400) 28.3% of targets (7.5 per game), 4 of 7 deep targets, and 4 of 10 red zone targets, a money target share of 47.1% to rank fourth in the NFL. It's an elite workload, and Hilton also has accounted for two end zone targets.
- No other Colt has more than a 13.2% target share (Eric Ebron ($5,700)).
- Marlon Mack ($7,000) has played at least 68.1% of snaps in each game, and the Colts have carved out the fifth-highest yards before contact per running back carry in the NFL (Atlanta is 19th defensively). He could see an elevated workload in a game where Indianapolis tries to limit plays.
Core Plays: Julio Jones, T.Y. Hilton, Marlon Mack
Secondary Plays: Calvin Ridley, Jacoby Brissett
Tournament Plays: Matt Ryan
Detroit at Philadelphia
Spread: PHI (-6.5) (% of Money on the Favorite: 44%)
Over/Under: 47 (% of Money on the Over: 5%)
Detroit Offense Notes
- The Detroit Lions are sizable road underdogs, and both teams are bottom-12 in adjusted seconds per play, so this could lead to a letdown game from a fantasy perspective. Only 5% of the money and 22% of the bets have come on the over.
- Matthew Stafford ($6,900) has quietly been really efficient in 2019, averaging 0.24 Passing NEP per drop back. The Philadelphia Eagles rank just 26th in adjusted pass defense but are 6th in adjusted pressure rate.
- Overall, the Lions project to be overpowered and have their offensive output limited.
- Kenny Golladay ($7,000) owns a 26.8% target share and has converted a team-high 7 deep targets (fourth-most in the NFL) into just 2 catches. He ranks ninth in combined deep and red zone target share. The workload is there for a big game if the Lions can generate offense.
- After a 131-yard debut, T.J. Hockenson ($5,500) fell off the map with only 3 targets in Week 2. Philly ranks 12th in Target Success Rate allowed to tight ends.
- Kerryon Johnson ($6,600) could see extended work after the Lions released C.J. Anderson. Johnson has yet to crack a 60.0% snap rate but has totaled 28 carries for futile yardage (90). His route rates (41.2% and 40.6%) don't guarantee receiving work (5 targets so far).
Philadelphia Offense Notes
- Philadelphia could be a source of value for Week 3 given their injuries. Wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson are both day-to-day.
- The primary beneficiary of their limited Week 2 was Zach Ertz ($6,900). Ertz saw 16 targets (34.0%) and had 6 red zone targets.
- Nelson Agholor ($4,800) would carry immense ownership if Jeffery and Jackson sit. Agholor had 11 targets in Week 2 and played 96.3% of snaps en route to 107 yards and a touchdown. Mack Hollins ($4,500) had 8 targets (3 deep) and played 85.2% of snaps. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside ($4,600) played 92.6% but drew only 4 targets.
- Carson Wentz ($7,700) projects to surpass 20.5 FanDuel points in half of his games, according to my simulations. He and the Eagles rank eighth in adjusted passing offense, according to numberFire.
- No Eagles running back has played 50.0% of snaps yet.
Core Plays: Zach Ertz, Nelson Agholor (if Jeffery and/or Jackson are out)
Secondary Plays: Kenny Golladay, Carson Wentz, Mack Hollins & J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (if Jeffery and/or Jackson are out)
Tournament Plays: Kerryon Johnson
Denver at Green Bay
Spread: GB (-8) (% of Money on the Favorite: 48%)
Over/Under: 42.5 (% of Money on the Over: 6%)
Denver Offense Notes
- There isn't much here for a league-average offense, but it's a pace-up spot and a point-chasing game, though only 6% of the money has come on the over.
- Royce Freeman ($5,900) and Phillip Lindsay ($6,400) have split snaps down the middle with 73 apiece to start the season, per FantasyData. With an implied team total of 17.25 points and as 8-point underdogs, that's really tough to justify. It's worth noting they each saw seven targets last week.
- We can look to Emmanuel Sanders ($5,700) for his low salary and impressive workload: 31.5% of the Denver Broncos' air yards and 24.4% of the overall targets. Sanders also has 38.9% of the red zone targets (7 of 18). He's 15th in combined deep and red zone target share.
Green Bay Offense Notes
- Head coach Matt LaFleur has said that he wants to "even up" the work for Aaron Jones ($6,900) and Jamaal Williams ($5,100) in what was trending toward a 60/40 split that favored Jones, whom LaFleur wants to keep fresh.
- The Broncos have started the season 29th in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play, which should give Aaron Rodgers ($7,900) his easiest test of the season after getting off to a slow start (0.02 Passing NEP per drop back and 6.4 yards per attempt).
- Davante Adams ($8,200) has a 27.9% target share but doesn't have a lot of high-leverage looks yet relative to his workload. With the low over/under here and his high price, he's more of a tournament play than a core play.
- Jimmy Graham ($4,900) saw his snap rate jump from 54.7% to 73.0% but had only 2 targets last week. Denver is 29th in Target Success Rate to start the season, and Graham does check the boxes of a home favorite.
Core Plays: Emmanuel Sanders
Secondary Plays: Davante Adams
Tournament Plays: Jimmy Graham, Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Jones, Courtland Sutton ($5,600)
NY Jets at New England
Spread: NE (-23) (% of Money on the Favorite: 89%)
Over/Under: 44 (% of Money on the Over: 15%)
NY Jets Offense Notes
- Le'Veon Bell ($7,700) has played 100.0% and 89.7% of snaps for the New York Jets, whose implied team total of 10.5 points has to be the lowest ever on record. His 21 carries and 10 targets give him a path to production, but he's really only viable in bring-back stacks when loading up on the New England Patriots.
- Luke Falk ($6,000) completed 20 of 25 passes but averaged -0.29 Passing NEP per drop back on them, and his average depth of target was a minuscule 5.0 yards downfield. Eight of his 25 passes went to Bell. Six went to Robby Anderson ($5,700) and five went to Jamison Crowder ($6,200).
New England Offense Notes
- The Pats' onslaught seems inevitable this weekend, as they're favored by 23 points and have an implied total of 33.5. Sony Michel ($6,800) played on 48.6% of snaps and handled 21 carries. He has yet to see a target but has six red zone carries.
- Tom Brady ($7,800) has been on fire to start the season, connecting on 10 of 14 deep attempts and averaging 0.54 Passing NEP per drop back, an unsustainably great rate. But throwing in positive script should lead to another strong outing, despite the Jets' top-six adjusted pass defense.
- Antonio Brown ($7,700) played 24 of 67 snaps (35.8%) in Week 2 but had elite usage: five red zone targets, two deep targets, four end zone targets, already second-most in the NFL. Josh Gordon ($6,000) and Julian Edelman ($6,900) each had five targets in Brown's debut, but neither saw a red zone target, while Brown drew five of seven. They were trending as clear secondary and tertiary receiver territory. Now, with Brown's release, the volume ticks up, but the game still has massive game-script concerns.
Core Plays: Tom Brady, Sony Michel
Secondary Plays: Josh Gordon, Julian Edelman
Tournament Plays: Le'Veon Bell, Robby Anderson, Jamison Crowder
Miami at Dallas
Spread: DAL (-21.5) (% of Money on the Favorite: 86%)
Over/Under: 47.5 (% of Money on the Over: 3%)
Miami Offense Notes
- With a 13.0-point implied total, the only way you can realistically justify Miami Dolphins assets is by adding pieces to Dallas Cowboys stacks and hoping Miami converts on some catch-up production.
- The best option would be DeVante Parker ($4,800), as he leads the team in air yards (310; 34.9%) and is dirt cheap against a team that ranks 25th in Target Success Rate allowed to wideouts.
Dallas Offense Notes
- Ezekiel Elliott ($8,800) is in the proverbial smash spot here as a massive home favorite against a team that's let up the 24th-most yards before contact per rush to running backs through two games. Miami has actually run the third-fastest adjusted pace in the league, too.
- Dak Prescott ($8,400) has had the best protection in football, and Miami ranks 31st in adjusted pressure rate and 32nd in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play. He's fully in play in cash games even at the elevated salary.
- Michael Gallup actually leads the team in target share (24.2%) but is slated to miss multiple weeks, opening the door for Amari Cooper ($7,700) to build on a 22.6% target share and Randall Cobb ($5,300) to do the same with his 17.7% rate. Game script is their biggest problem. Jason Witten ($5,000) is a heavy home favorite and has seen four targets in each game, scoring in each, thanks to two red zone looks per contest.
Core Plays: Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott,
Secondary Plays: Amari Cooper, Randall Cobb
Tournament Plays: Jason Witten, DeVante Parker
Cincinnati at Buffalo
Spread: BUF (-6) (% of Money on the Favorite: 65%)
Over/Under: 44 (% of Money on the Over: 37%)
Cincinnati Offense Notes
- A matchup against the Buffalo Bills' ninth-ranked adjusted pass defense isn't a spot we need to chase on a full slate, but John Ross ($6,700) and Tyler Boyd ($6,600) are priced reasonably for their target numbers (23.1% and 22.0%, respectively). The Bills have the best pass defense on deep balls (1 completion on 8 attempts for 33 yards), so that should yield chances for Boyd underneath and could spell trouble for Ross.
- Joe Mixon ($6,500) is playing behind the worst offensive line in football in terms of yards before contact generated for running backs.
- The Bills do rank ninth in adjusted seconds per play, but implied totals under 20 are rarely enticing on a full slate.
Buffalo Offense Notes
- The Cincinnati Bengals have put forth a mid-level defense through two games but do rank 28th in Rushing Success Rate and 20th in yards before contact average to running backs. Frank Gore is cheap at $5,700 and just had 19 carries and is a 6-point home favorite. Cincinnati ranks 28th in Rushing Success Rate allowed to backs. His 75th-percentile outcome is just 14.5 FanDuel points, though, making him a cash-game-only type of play. We'll have to monitor Devin Singletary's ($5,800) health.
- Josh Allen ($7,500) grades out as a great play in my simulations with a 75th-percentile outcome of 25.2 FanDuel points. Cincinnati ranks 23rd in deep pass adjusted yards per attempt allowed, and Allen has 13 such attempts through two games. He's also run 17 times.
- Allen's main stack partner is clearly John Brown ($5,900), who has a low enough salary to bake in his floor. Brown has a 28.1% target share to pair with a third of the team's deep targets and 42.8% of the Bills' air yards. Cole Beasley ($5,100) had just 4 targets (14.3%) last week and played just 48.7% of snaps.
Core Plays: Josh Allen
Secondary Plays: Tyler Boyd, John Brown, Frank Gore (if Singletary is out)
Tournament Plays: John Ross
Carolina at Arizona
Spread: ARI (-2.5) (% of Money on the Favorite: 75%)
Over/Under: 44.5 (% of Money on the Over: 48%)
Carolina Offense Notes
- Arizona ranks 19th adjusted pass defense. Both teams are top-two in adjusted seconds per play. With the middling total, this one could be a sneaky game stack.
- If Cam Newton ($7,900) sits, then it'll be Kyle Allen ($6,000) under center. Allen mustered just 4.9 yards per attempt in the preseason but showed up well in Week 17 last year, generating 0.52 Passing NEP per drop back (228 yards and 2 touchdowns).
- Christian McCaffrey ($8,900) has played every offensive snap for the Carolina Panthers but would have to get dropped down the ranks toward tournament-only territory while tied to Allen and the offense's lowered expectations.
- In Week 17 last season, Allen threw 8 times to D.J. Moore ($6,500) for 81 yards and 4 times to Curtis Samuel ($5,800) for 72 yards and a touchdown. Each had two deep targets in that game. Greg Olsen ($6,100) has played 60-plus snaps in each game so far but would be a downgrade with Allen.
Arizona Offense Notes
- Kyler Murray ($7,200) has had below-average passing efficiency (0.06 Passing NEP per drop back). Adjusted for opponent, the Cardinals' passing offense ranks 22nd. The anticipated play volume could help Murray reach a significant ceiling, but he still has run just three times per game.
- I love Larry Fitzgerald ($5,900) and Christian Kirk ($5,900) again this week. Fitzgerald has a 29.7% target share and a team-high 8 deep targets (13th-most in the NFL) to go along with 5 red zone targets. Kirk has averaged 10.0 targets per game (22.5%) to go with 6 deep targets.
- Despite a low target total (8) David Johnson ($7,000) is firmly in the cash-game conversation at his price against the league's 26th-ranked adjusted rush defense. Johnson had 7 targets in Week 1 before seeing just 1 in limited action (60.0% of snaps) in Week 2.
Core Plays: Larry Fitzgerald, David Johnson, Kyler Murray, Christian Kirk
Secondary Plays: Christian McCaffrey
Tournament Plays: D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel
NY Giants at Tampa Bay
Spread: TB (-6.5) (% of Money on the Favorite: 69%)
Over/Under: 48 (% of Money on the Over: 22%)
NY Giants Offense Notes
- The New York Giants will be turning to Daniel Jones ($6,000), giving us a stone minimum quarterback for cash games against the league's surprisingly fourth-ranked adjusted pass defense. Jones slung it at least 20 yards downfield on 20.6% of his preseason passes (7 of 34), via PFF.
- The offense should flow through Saquon Barkley ($9,200), who has averaged 21.0 chances through two games, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rank first in Target Success Rate allowed to running backs, notably limiting Christian McCaffrey's overall production in Week 2. He grades out a little overpriced given the offense's expected output.
- The only other viable asset here is tight end Evan Engram ($6,400), who has a team-high 24.7% target share through two games. If looking for a dart throw to pair with Jones in stacks, it'd probably be Cody Latimer ($5,500), who has been targeted on 5 of 10 deep throws in the offense.
Tampa Bay Offense Notes
- I'll be buying into a possible Mike Evans ($7,100) correction, given his usage. The Giants rank 32nd in Target Success Rate allowed to receivers, and based on historical averages of air yards and starting field location, Evans should've had 23.7 FanDuel points through two games but has just 11.9, the fifth-biggest discrepancy in the NFL. Using that same method, Chris Godwin ($7,600) should have scored 22.3 FanDuel points instead of his 34.9, the ninth-biggest discrepancy the other way. In such a good spot, both are viable, but Evans has the tournament leverage here.
- Jameis Winston ($7,300) ranks 33rd in Passing NEP per drop back (-0.28) in the NFL but should be able to come through in this spot against the league's 31st-ranked adjusted pass defense which has struggled to generate pressure through two games.
- Chasing the backfield is probably futile, despite Peyton Barber's ($6,100) 23-carry Week 2, given the yo-yoing snap rates, but if loading up on the Bucs and their defense, Barber is stackable.
Core Plays: Jameis Winston, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin
Secondary Plays: Saquon Barkley, Daniel Jones
Tournament Plays: Evan Engram, Peyton Barber
Houston at LA Chargers
Spread: LA (-3.5) (% of Money on the Favorite: 89%)
Over/Under: 48 (% of Money on the Over: 65%)
Houston Offense Notes
- The over/under here is high at 48 points, but it's a pace-down game for the Houston Texans, as the Los Angeles Chargers rank 29th in adjusted seconds per play.
- After a Week 2 dud, Deshaun Watson ($8,200) could be a prime tournament play in case of a shootout but isn't a cash-game consideration on this slate against the NFL's 20th-ranked adjusted pass defense. Watson has been pressured on more than half of his drop backs, according to PFF.
- Watson's targets have been hyper-concentrated on DeAndre Hopkins ($8,900), who has a 36.2% target share and 42.1% of the team's targets through two games. The return of Keke Coutee ($4,900) pushed Will Fuller ($6,000) to the outside more last weekend. Fuller has 16.9% of targets but 34.9% of the air yards and is always in the mix for a splash play.
- Duke Johnson ($5,400) and Carlos Hyde ($6,000) have flip-flopped 60/40 snap splits through two games. This should set up more for Johnson to lead as 3.5-point underdogs, but on a 13-game main slate, you don't have to roster either.
LA Chargers Offense Notes
- Philip Rivers ($7,500) is 11th in Passing NEP per drop back through two weeks and is 10 of 15 on deep passes. Houston is 24th in adjusted pass defense through two games.
- Keenan Allen ($7,800) has been a target monster. Last week, he accounted for 15 targets and 216 air yards (41.7% of the targets and 57.1% of the air yards). Now, he’s up to 35.7% of the Chargers’ targets and 54.6% of the air yards through two games and has the highest expected fantasy point total among all wideouts (39.6).
- Mike Williams ($6,100) has only eight targets through two games but did draw high-leverage looks last week despite being expected to be limited: three deep targets, two red zone targets, including two end zone targets.
- Austin Ekeler ($7,600) has been a top-five weekly back in each weeks and has played 73.1% of snaps or more in each game. Houston is 30th in adjusted rush defense, and the Chargers are third in yards before contact average generated for backs.
Core Plays: Keenan Allen, Austin Ekeler
Secondary Plays: DeAndre Hopkins, Philip Rivers
Tournament Plays: Deshaun Watson, Will Fuller, Mike Williams
New Orleans at Seattle
Spread: SEA (-4.5) (% of Money on the Favorite: 90%)
Over/Under: 44.5 (% of Money on the Over: 28%)
New Orleans Offense Notes
- The New Orleans Saints have not yet named a starting quarterback for Week 3, as head coach Sean Payton is playing mind games about whether it'll be Taysom Hill ($6,000) or Teddy Bridgewater ($6,800) under center.
- This really kills the value of Michael Thomas ($8,000), and he's very much overvalued in my simulations. Bridgewater did feed 11 of 30 attempts to Thomas, giving nobody else more than 5, yet we don't even know if he'll start.
- The Seattle Seahawks rank first in adjusted rushing defense through two games and are seventh in yards before contact average allowed. Alvin Kamara ($8,000) saw only three targets from Bridgewater, but the Seahawks are 22nd in Target Success Rate allowed to backs.
Seattle Offense Notes
- The Seahawks' backfield resembled more of a 60/40 split in Week 2 than it did in Week 1, when Chris Carson ($7,000) played 60.1% of snaps and Rashaad Penny ($5,900) played 35.2%, with Penny getting 10 of 25 total carries. Seattle sets up as a 4.5-point home favorite against the league's worst adjusted rush defense through two games, so Carson is still in play at that price.
- This could be the week where Russell Wilson ($7,600) cashes in on his deep attempts, as the Saints have let up 207 yards on 10 deep attempts in 2019, ranking 26th in adjusted yards per attempt on such passes. The main beneficiary could be D.K. Metcalf ($6,200), who has 7 deep targets (63.6% of Seattle's long passes). His snaps climbed to 88.6% in Week 2 after playing 77.4% in Week 1.
- Tyler Lockett ($6,600) still leads in overall targets 14 to 13 over Metcalf but has just 3 deep targets by comparison.
- Chasing Will Dissly ($5,400) is fine, as he's a home favorite, but he did play just 59.5% of snaps last week (50.9% in Week 1) and has 7 total targets. New Orleans ranks fifth in Target Success Rate to tight ends.
Core Plays: Russell Wilson, Chris Carson
Secondary Plays: D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett
Tournament Plays: Alvin Kamara, Michael Thomas
Pittsburgh at San Francisco
Spread: SF (-6.5) (% of Money on the Favorite: 58%)
Over/Under: 43.5 (% of Money on the Over: 90%)
Pittsburgh Offense Notes
- With Mason Rudolph ($6,600) under center, the Pittsburgh Steelers' offense has an implied total of 18.5 points against the NFL's top adjusted pass defense. Rudolph averaged 0.10 Passing NEP per drop back in Week 2, around league-average efficiency. Pittsburgh ranks fourth-best in adjusted pressure rate offensively.
- It's less about Rudolph and more about JuJu Smith-Schuster ($7,500), who had 5 of Rudolph's 19 attempts, including 2 of 3 deep attempts and 1 of 4 red zone attempts. The San Francisco 49ers are 16th in fantasy points per target allowed to slot receivers but 5th-best in adjusted yards per attempt allowed on deep passes.
- Vance McDonald ($5,900) scored twice from Rudolph last week and had 4 of 19 targets, including 2 red zone passes. He played 92.1% of snaps. It's also a revenge game.
James Washington ($5,200) had just one target from Rudolph in Week 2 but was Rudolph's collegiate teammate at Oklahoma State and comes in at a cheap price tag after running 55.6% of the team's pass routes (actually fewer than he had in Week 1 (61.2%)). He could be part of game stacks if you're going that route.
- James Conner ($7,400) played 62.7% of snaps last week. He's overpriced as a road underdog with an implied total below 20, even if he does play. Jaylen Samuels ($6,100) could enter the conversation if Conner is out.
San Francisco Offense Notes
- Jimmy Garoppolo ($7,200) bounced back after a dud in Week 1 and now gets the Steelers' 27th-ranked adjusted pass defense while being pressured at the 2nd-lowest rate in football after adjusting for opponent. Of note, they'll be without tackle Joe Staley for multiple weeks.
- Garoppolo's targets have favored George Kittle ($6,600), whose price is eye-poppingly low. Kittle has accounted for 25.0% of the targets and 44.4% of the team's red zone targets. Garoppolo has thrown deep only six times, which is problematic, but the floor his super high here.
- After Kittle, it's Deebo Samuel ($5,500) at a 17.3% target share (9 of 52) but no deep looks. He ran 89.3% of the pass routes in Week 1 but just 50.0% in Week 2. Richie James ($4,600) actually tied with Kittle for the most routes in Week 2 (67.9%). Marquise Goodwin ($5,400) was third at 64.3%.
- In a full game without Tevin Coleman, Raheem Mostert ($6,000), Matt Breida ($5,900), and Jeff Wilson ($5,300) recorded 13, 12, and 10 carries, respectively. Even more problematically, Wilson had five of the six red zone carries and could be the go-to guy near the goal line, per head coach Kyle Shanahan. Snaps favored Mostert (47.2%), followed by Breida (29.2%) and Wilson (20.8%).
Core Plays: George Kittle, Jimmy Garoppolo
Secondary Plays: JuJu Smith-Schuster, Deebo Samuel, Raheem Mostert, Matt Breida
Tournament Plays: Vance McDonald