News & Analysis

Fantasy Football: Week 3 WR/CB matchups and TE breakdown

Dec 5, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson (12) warms up before the game against the Dallas Cowboys at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

We're on to Week 3! I'll be breaking down the WR/CB matchups all season long with a focus on figuring out who could be facing shadow coverage as well as the best and worst overall situations. We'll also briefly touch on each team's TE group.

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The following tables denote snap rate data by alignment, target share, air yard market share, yards per route run and yards allowed per coverage snap.

Miami Dolphins at Jacksonville Jaguars

Dolphins Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Preston Williams 76 210 0.86 Tre Herndon 71 185 0.55
R DeVante Parker 75 216 4.45 1.69 C.J. Henderson 73 191 4.39 1.29
S Isaiah Ford 74 189 4.61 1.33 D.J. Hayden 71 190 4.4 2.65

Projected shadow matchups: DeVante Parker vs. C.J. Henderson

WR/CB breakdown: Parker (hamstring) was banged up and injured mid-game in Week 1, but he returned in Week 2 healthy enough to catch five of eight targets for 53 yards and a score while posting a robust 88% snap rate. Henderson does have a nice combination of size and speed to theoretically stick with Parker, but even the league’s best shadow corners failed to slow down the Dolphins’ No. 1 wideout with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center in 2019:

After dealing with the Patriots’ league-best secondary in Week 1 and a matchup against the Bills’ elite defense in Week 2, this near-vintage Thursday night matchup has all the makings of a nice bounce-back spot for Parker.

Preston Williams has struggled to get on the same page with Fitzpatrick in the early going, catching just three of 12 targets for 67 scoreless yards. Isaiah Ford has more targets (14), receptions (nine) and yards (89). Right now, Parker and tight end Mike Gesicki appear to be firmly atop Fitzpatrick’s pecking order; neither complementary wide receiver is a recommended start until we see some more consistent production.

TE breakdown: Gesicki is a tight end only in terms of positional designation; Taysom Hill (10) has played more total snaps than Gesicki (seven) as an inline tight end this season. Overall, Gesicki has spent 92% of his snaps in the slot or out wide through two weeks of action. This makes sense — Gesicki has the size (6-foot-6, 245 pounds) and speed (4.54-second 40-yard dash) to terrorize pretty much any defender in coverage, so why not utilize him to the best of his talents? His 8-130-1 performance against the Bills showed the ceiling at hand for the talented third-year receiver, and more production could be on the way Thursday night against a Jaguars defense that didn’t exactly shut down either of Jonnu Smith (4-84-2) or Jack Doyle (3-49-0).

Jaguars Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Laviska Shenault Jr. 74 220 4.58 1.6 Xavien Howard 73 192 4.58 1.89
R D.J. Chark 76 198 4.34 1.63 Byron Jones 72 205 0.44
S Keelan Cole 73 194 1.78 Nik Needham 72 203 2.62

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Through two weeks, Gardner Minshew’s target distribution has been as follows:

Madness. Both Cole (11-105-2) and Chark (7-109-1) have certainly made the most of their opportunities; the overall target volume just hasn’t been there. The good news is that Minshew posted far more passing volume in Week 2 (45 attempts) than in Week 1 (20). Expect more of the former than the latter moving forward, which means bigger days are ahead for Chark. Both Howard (knee) and Jones (groin, Achilles) are all sorts of banged up, making Thursday night a prime get-right spot for the Jaguars’ No. 1 wide receiver.

The Jaguars are using Shenault as a hybrid WR/RB, and it’s been a lot of fun.

Still, I’m hesitant on expecting consistent production from either Cole or Shenault. This offense is so evenly distributed at the moment, so even if Chark eventually surges ahead as expected, it’s going to be tough to see consistent production from the pass-catchers. I’d prefer Shenault over the other receivers moving forward, and he’s a realistic flex option with his dual-threat workload.

TE breakdown: Tyler Eifert is one of just seven receivers with at least three end-zone targets this season. He’s not playing a full allotment of snaps but is involved enough near the red zone to warrant streaming consideration moving forward. Eifert hasn’t looked all that explosive, and there are closer to two dozen tight ends than one dozen that I’d rather start before him. Just realize the Jaguars are seemingly intent on featuring their new addition at the position.

San Francisco 49ers at New York Giants

49ers Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Brandon Aiyuk 73 206 4.5 0.91 Corey Ballentine 71 196 4.47 1.69
R Kendrick Bourne 73 203 4.68 1.63 James Bradberry 73 212 4.5 1.22
S Trent Taylor 68 180 4.63 0.55 Logan Ryan 71 195 4.56 0.6

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Jimmy Garoppolo (knee) sounds closer to doubtful than questionable to suit up for Week 3. This means Nick Mullens will be under center.

Mullens started eight games in 2018, averaging a robust 8.3 yards per attempt while throwing for 284 yards per game. His turnover and sack totals were less ideal, although the former undrafted quarterback did enough to reportedly garner “multiple” trade offers leading up to the 2020 draft.

This season will mark Mullens’ third year with Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco. There’s a real chance that he’s a #good quarterback. The only rookie signal-callers (minimum eight starts) to average more adjusted yards per attempt than Mullens since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger were Dak Prescott, Robert Griffin III, Ben Roethlisberger, Russell Wilson and Dan Marino.

Mullens went ahead and got all the team’s receivers involved upon entering in Week 2 because that’s seemingly just what the 49ers do. Overall, Jordan Reed is the only 49ers player to get more than five targets in a game this season.

Brandon Aiyuk is healthy and played 72% of the offense’s snaps in Week 2; just don’t expect enough targets to truly make a splash against a Giants secondary that has played well enough to this point. The offense’s plethora of capable receivers at running back and tight end have me leaning toward likely fading this wide receiver group as a whole until Deebo Samuel (foot, IR) returns to a full-time role.

TE breakdown: Reed caught seven of eight targets for 50 yards and a pair of scores in the 49ers’ Week 2 win over the Jets. The large workload was somewhat surprising, considering he played on just 46% of the offense’s snaps, but Reed deserves credit for looking spry and physical throughout the performance. It wouldn’t be shocking if the 49ers lean more heavily on two-tight end formations once George Kittle (knee) returns to action. Reed is deserving of low-end TE1 status if Kittle remains sidelined, while Samuel must be in fantasy lineups of all shapes and sizes once active.

Giants Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Darius Slayton 73 190 4.39 1.61 Emmanuel Moseley 71 184 1.07
R Damion Ratley 74 200 Ahkello Witherspoon 74 195 4.45 2.38
S Golden Tate 70 197 4.42 1.47 K'Waun Williams 69 185 0.47

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: The likely absence of Sterling Shepard (toe) and the reality that this offense probably won’t lean on the run game as much without Saquon Barkley (knee, IR) enhances the fantasy value of both Darius Slayton and Golden Tate.

Slayton has been one of the league’s premiere boom-performance talents since entering the league last season. Overall, he joins Chris Godwin as the league’s only players to rack up three games with 100-plus yards and two scores through the air since 2019. The banged-up 49ers secondary will still be without Richard Sherman (calf, IR), and the pass rush doesn’t figure to be nearly as lethal after losing Nick Bosa (knee, IR) and Solomon Thomas (knee, IR) for the season. Slayton is worthy of borderline WR2 treatment in this potential blow-up spot.

Tate caught all five of his targets for 47 scoreless yards in his season debut last week. The slot is all his without Shepard involved, and he’s set up nicely against a 49ers defense that just allowed Jets backup wideout Braxton Berrios (6-59-1) to have himself a day. I’m strongly in favor of stacking Jones with both Slayton and/or Tate, as well as tight end Evan Engram in DFS tournaments, as opposed to trying to figure out what's going on with their run game.

TE breakdown: Engram got back on track against the Bears to an extent by catching 6 of 8 targets for 65 yards. The good news is that he’s posted 94% and 97% snap rates during the first two weeks of the season. Truly a top talent at the position, Engram continues to be worthy of top-six treatment and is due for a big game.

Washington Football Team at Cleveland Browns

Football Team Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Terry McLaurin 72 208 4.35 2.58 Terrance Mitchell 71 191 4.63 0.51
R Dontrelle Inman 75 205 0.69 Denzel Ward 71 190 4.32 0.74
S Steven Sims 70 176 1.51 Tavierre Thomas 70 205 1.51

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Dwayne Haskins is averaging 10.2 adjusted yards per attempt when targeting Terry McLaurin over the past two seasons. No other Washington receiver with more than 10 targets is over eight.

Steven Sims has flashed at times, but McLaurin is the only fantasy-viable wide receiver on the Football Team at the moment. Patrick Peterson simply couldn’t stay with him for most of Week 3.

The artist known as F1 has posted 4-57-1, 5-130-1, 7-86-0, 5-61-0 and 7-125-1 receiving lines in his last five games with Haskins under center dating back to 2019. Continue to treat McLaurin as an every-week upside WR2, particularly in a matchup where he’s not expected to draw shadow coverage with Denzel Ward.

TE breakdown: Haskins has fed Logan Thomas 17 targets through two weeks; only Travis Kelce (20) and Darren Waller (24) have more pass-game opportunities at the position. The efficiency hasn’t been there just yet, with Thomas gaining just 63 yards, but there’s plenty of upside here for the Football Team’s No. 2 pass-game option. Overall, Thomas ranks third and fourth in target and air yard share, respectively, among all tight ends. We’ll need to see some improved efficiency moving forward, although it’s fair to treat Thomas as an upside TE2 ahead of this week’s winnable matchup.

Browns Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Odell Beckham Jr. 71 198 4.43 1.78 Fabian Moreau 72 200 4.35 0.86
R KhaDarel Hodge 74 205 1.55 Ronald Darby 71 193 4.38 1.5
S Jarvis Landry 71 196 4.77 2.06 Jimmy Moreland 70 179 1.7

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: In the Browns’ Week 2 win over the Bengals, OBJ put together one of the nicer double-moves you’ll see. The problem is that he saw just six pass-game opportunities. OBJ looks like his usual dominant self through two weeks, and his 40% air yard market share is the sixth-highest mark in the league. Essentially playing the Stefon Diggs’ field-stretcher role in coach Kevin Stefanski’s offense, Beckham will need to continue to make the most of his opportunities to consistently provide WR2-level production.

Things might be a bit tougher for Jarvis Landry this season. The perennially undervalued wideout has just nine targets after two weeks despite playing at least 60% of the offense’s snaps in both games. This is far removed from what we’ve come to expect from the stud slot receiver over the years:

    • 2014: 7 targets in Weeks 1-2
    • 2015: 22
    • 2016: 23
    • 2017: 26
    • 2018: 22
    • 2019: 14
    • 2020: 9

Both Landry and OBJ had 130-plus targets in 2019; that’s not looking likely in 2020. Beckham has received more fantasy-friendly downfield looks, and he accordingly should be treated as the offense’s WR1.

Neither KhaDarel Hodge (57% snaps) nor Rashard Higgins (9%) is on the fantasy radar inside this run-first offense.

TE breakdown: Austin Hooper played 57 of 58 snaps in Week 2, but Harrison Bryant (52%) and Stephen Carlson (7%) were also involved. A better goal-line pass from Baker Mayfield would’ve secured Hooper his first score with the Browns, but instead, he’s posted a mediocre 4-37-0 line through two weeks. Hooper’s 11% target share is tied with Tyler Eifert for the 25th-highest mark at the position; he’s a low-end TE2 until we see any reason to believe there’s some sort of enhanced volume on the way.

Cincinnati Bengals at Philadelphia Eagles

Bengals Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L A.J. Green 76 210 4.48 1.07 Darius Slay 72 190 4.36 0.74
R Tee Higgins 76 215 0.69 Avonte Maddox 69 180 4.39 2.02
S Tyler Boyd 74 203 4.58 1.05 Nickell Robey-Coleman 68 180 1.96

Projected shadow matchups: A.J. Green vs. Darius Slay

WR/CB breakdown: Green is easily 2020’s most disappointing wide receiver in terms of production versus opportunity. Overall, he’s one of just five receivers with at least 40% of his team’s air yard market share, but his difference of 275.1 additional air yards than receiving yards is far removed from the next-least efficient receiver, DeSean Jackson (+149.1).

Joe Burrow racked up 61 pass attempts in Week 2 and continues to look Green’s way first. The rookie made a number of big-time throws against the Browns and figures to establish some level of chemistry with his No. 1 wideout sooner rather than later.

Green hasn’t looked like the same world-beating talent we saw for much of the previous decade, but the volume here is too high to ignore. He’s more of an upside WR3 at this point than a locked-in WR2, although I’d still try to find a starting spot for him before his inevitable bounce-back performance.

Tyler Boyd’s 7-72-1 performance in Week 2 could’ve been even bigger if he would’ve held on to a short goal-line score. Regardless, he’s locked in as the offense’s No. 2 pass-game option and will continue to see the opposition’s weaker links from the friendly confines of the slot. I’m refraining from treating Boyd as more than a WR3 due to our small sample size of high-end target share, but the arrow is pointing up for this entire passing game after a rough Week 1.

Tee Higgins (65% snaps in Week 3) moved ahead of John Ross (30%) last week, although Mike Thomas (35%) is also involved, and Burrow feeds plenty of targets to his tight ends and running backs, as well. I’d refrain from devoting any sort of fantasy resources to any wide receiver in this offense other than Green and Boyd.

TE breakdown: C.J. Uzomah looked to be on his way to a sneaky-big season before suffering a season-ending Achilles injury in Week 2. A perceived blocking tight end, Drew Sample came in off the bench to catch seven of nine targets for 45 yards. Burrow clearly has an affinity for feeding the position, but I’m hesitant in expecting this sort of consistent usage in games where the Bengals aren’t throwing 60-plus times. For now, treat Sample as more of a borderline TE2 than a viable fantasy starter.

Eagles Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Jalen Reagor 71 195 4.47 1.43 William Jackson III 72 196 4.37 1.42
R DeSean Jackson 70 175 4.35 1.67 Darius Phillips 70 190 4.54 1.14
S Greg Ward 71 186 1.2 Mackensie Alexander 70 192 1.4

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Carson Wentz and the Eagles' offense are struggling mightily through two weeks. As PFF’s Mike Renner put it in his piece breaking down the offense’s issues, “The wide receiver corps hasn't broken a single tackle and is the lowest-graded unit in the NFL, their tight ends have more drops (three) than any other group in the NFL and running back Miles Sanders coughed up a fumble that put them behind the eight ball early this past Sunday.”

Not great, Bob. The good news for Wentz and company is that this week’s matchup against the Bengals’ mediocre defense is much better than what they saw in Week 1 (Football Team) or Week 2 (Rams).

DeSean Jackson is the play here. Only A.J. Green has a higher difference in receiving yards versus air yards through two weeks, as D-Jax (16 targets) is right there with Dallas Goedert (17) and Zach Ertz (14) at the top of Wentz’s pecking order. Jalen Reagor (thumb, IR) flashed with his limited opportunities and has a bright future, but any fantasy upside might have to wait until 2021.

TE breakdown: Goedert is tied with Logan Thomas for the third-most targets among tight ends, while Ertz is tied for eighth. The 2019 Eagles were just the second offense to enable two top-12 fantasy tight ends since 2010; the 2020 version looks to be on the way to achieving the same goal. I’m still treating Ertz as the preferred fantasy option, but it’s close, and Goedert is plenty worthy of starter treatment with this sort of every-down role.

Las Vegas Raiders at New England Patriots

Raiders Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Henry Ruggs III 72 190 4.27 1.23 J.C. Jackson 73 198 4.46 0.88
R Bryan Edwards 75 215 1.16 Stephon Gilmore 73 202 4.38 2.14
S Hunter Renfrow 70 184 4.59 1.38 Jonathan Jones 70 190 4.33 0.6

Projected shadow matchups: Bryan Edwards vs. Stephon Gilmore

WR/CB breakdown: Derek Carr’s target distribution through two weeks:

This isn’t the most fantasy-friendly offense for the wide receiver position. Ruggs broke free into the secondary on multiple occasions last Monday night, but Carr was generally happy to keep feeding his various backs and tight ends. Edwards looked good in his few opportunities, although a shadow date with Stephon Gilmore is something we’ve seen only DeVante Parker and D.K. Metcalf have a good time with over the past two seasons.

Credit to the entire Raiders organization for the impressive Week 2 win over the Saints, but this still isn’t an offense built to enable multiple fantasy-friendly pass-catchers. None of these wideouts are recommended starts ahead of this brutal Week 3 matchup.

TE breakdown: Waller is clearly the No. 1 pass-game option in this offense and has more target upside than just about any tight end in football. The team’s shiny new toys at wide receiver haven’t done anything to dissuade Carr from checking the ball down to his heart’s desire; he ranks 28th among 35 quarterbacks in percentage of passes thrown 20-plus yards downfield through two weeks. Waller is the PPR TE5 in 2020 and deserving of top-five treatment at the position moving forward.

Patriots Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Damiere Byrd 69 180 1.09 Damon Arnette 72 195 4.56 2.44
R N'Keal Harry 74 228 4.53 1.76 Trayvon Mullen 74 199 4.46 0.88
S Julian Edelman 70 198 4.07 Lamarcus Joyner 68 191 4.55 1.54

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Julian Edelman boasts the highest air yard market share in the league after racking up a career-high 179 yards during the Patriots’ Sunday night shootout against the Seahawks. The performance featured more than a few absolutely beautiful throws from Cam Newton, who seems to be operating near the peak of his powers at the moment.

The Patriots’ long-time WR1 repeatedly beat Seahawks safety Jamal Adams from the slot and is positioned to do the same against a Raiders secondary that didn’t exactly shut down either Teddy Bridgewater or Drew Brees. Expecting consistent high-end production from Edelman in this run-first offense might be wishful thinking, although he’s worthy of top-10 treatment at the position as the Patriots’ undisputed No. 1 pass-game option in a fantastic matchup.

Both N'Keal Harry (8-72-0) and Damiere Byrd (6-72-0) were heavily involved in Week 2. The former receiver seems the more likely candidate to see consistent targets, although the ceiling might be a bit limited more weeks than not, considering the low average target depth at hand. I’d refrain from expecting much from pass-catchers in this offense other than Edelman in projected positive game-scripts.

TE breakdown: Ryan Izzo (97% snaps) played a near every-down role ahead of Devin Asiasi (14%), but Izzo’s two targets were the duo’s only involvement in the passing game. Stay away from this tight end group until we see any sort of evidence that the Patriots plan on featuring the position more heavily.

Chicago Bears at Atlanta Falcons

Bears Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Allen Robinson II 75 211 4.6 1.7 Isaiah Oliver 72 210 4.5 1.58
R Darnell Mooney 71 175 4.38 2.24 A.J. Terrell 73 190 4.42 1.22
S Anthony Miller 71 190 1.95 Darqueze Dennard 71 200 4.51 2.13

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Bad news: A-Rob has posted 5-74-0 and 3-33-0 lines in back-to-back winnable matchups against the Lions and Giants. Good news: Robinson is on pace for a robust 144 targets after receiving nine passing-game opportunities in both Week 1 and Week 2.

Robinson was the PPR WR8 in 2019 with Mitchell Trubisky under center; we already know he’s capable of supplying top-10 production in this offense. Up next is as good of a squeaky wheel spot as he could ask for, as the Bears are set to face a Falcons defense that has struggled to slow down basically every WR they’ve faced this season:

  • Amari Cooper: 6 receptions-100 yards-0 TD (9 targets)
  • CeeDee Lamb: 6-106-0 (9)
  • Tyler Lockett: 8-92-0 (8)
  • D.K. Metcalf: 4-95-1 (8)
  • Michael Gallup: 2-58-0 (5)
  • David Moore: 3-28-0 (3)

Did anybody else just hear that squeaky wheel sound?

I’m firing up A-Rob as a top-10 WR this week despite his early-season struggles. After him, you’re better off looking elsewhere. Each of Mooney (60% snaps in Week 2), Javon Wims (45%), Anthony Miller (40%) and Cordarrelle Patterson (22%) are devoid of full-time roles in an offense that would probably prefer to give the rock to David Montgomery 20-plus times per week when possible. None of these complementary receivers are recommended fantasy options in Week 3.

TE breakdown: Jimmy Graham (62% snaps in Week 2) and rookie Cole Kmet (34%) form an unproductive two-right end committee that shouldn’t be touched with a 10-foot pole in fantasy football land.

Falcons Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Julio Jones 75 220 4.34 2.18 Jaylon Johnson 72 195 4.5 0.85
R Calvin Ridley 73 190 4.43 2.72 Kyle Fuller 71 190 4.49 0.75
S Russell Gage 72 184 2.03 Buster Skrine 69 185 1.13

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Be sure to monitor Jones’ (hamstring) practice participation throughout the week, as the longtime WR1 was hobbled for most of Week 2. Jones still had a chance to put together a big day when Gage (!!!) lofted a perfectly thrown deep ball and hit the Falcons’ No. 1 WR between the numbers in the end zone, but the pass was dropped. Jones is anyone’s idea of a top-five WR when healthy; just be on the lookout for news of limited snaps.

And then we have Ridley, who is fantasy’s overall WR1 after two weeks of action. The man has quite literally never busted when given at least eight targets:

  • 7 receptions-146 yards-3 TDs
  • 6-71-1
  • 8-93-1
  • 8-105-1
  • 5-88-1
  • 8-143-1
  • 6-85-1
  • 8-91-0
  • 9-130-2
  • 7-109-2

Continue to fire up both Ridley and Jones as WR1s.

Gage has racked up 21 targets through two weeks and has earned borderline WR3 treatment. The presence of both Jones and Ridley should result in some down performances sooner rather than later, but if either misses time, we’re looking at potential WR2 production from the Falcons’ slot receiver. Gage’s usage has hardly been coincidental; only A.J. Green (20), Darren Waller (19) and Amari Cooper (19) have more targets than Gage (18) on their QB’s first read.

The Bears don’t boast a bad secondary by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s a winnable spot for these Falcons WRs considering 1.) They’re each talented enough to overcome their respective matchups, and 2.) The Falcons join the Bengals as the league’s only two teams with at least 90 pass attempts through two weeks.

TE breakdown: Hurst scored a well-designed 42-yard TD after the entire Cowboys defense bit on a screen and let the Falcons’ starting TE run untouched to the end zone. Don’t expect 2019-Austin Hooper-level production from Hurst, but he possesses enough speed and target share to mix in some splash performances with a decent enough floor. The Bears have already yielded solid performances to T.J. Hockenson (5-56-1) and Evan Engram (6-65-0); Hurst is firmly on the TE1 borderline this week.

Los Angeles Rams at Buffalo Bills

Rams Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Josh Reynolds 75 196 4.52 1.52 Levi Wallace 72 179 4.63 1.28
R Robert Woods 72 195 4.51 2.09 Tre'Davious White 71 192 4.47 0.46
S Cooper Kupp 74 208 4.62 2.16 Taron Johnson 71 192 4.5 1.27

Projected shadow matchups: Robert Woods vs. Tre’Davious White

WR/CB breakdown: Woods saw just five targets in Week 2 after racking up at least eight pass-game opportunities in each of his previous eight games. Still, he managed to salvage the day with a 3-19-1 rushing line.

There simply haven’t been any peers to Woods when it comes to rushing usage at the WR position. Just four wide receivers who haven’t spent significant time as a true RB (Cordarrelle Patterson, Ty Montgomery) have racked up more than 18 rush attempts since 2018.

  • Woods (40 carries)
  • Curtis Samuel (32)
  • Tyreek Hill (31)
  • D.J. Moore (19)

Treat Woods as more of an upside WR2 than borderline WR1 in this tough draw against White, who has allowed just 0.46 yards per coverage snap through two weeks.

And then we have Kupp, who is almost playing an every-snap role as the offense’s clear-cut No. 2 WR. Sure, the 11 targets through two weeks aren’t ideal, but 2019’s puzzling late-season snap counts are a thing of the past. Kupp is set up well against a Bills defense that was torn up by slot WR Jamison Crowder (7-115-1) back in Week 1. Only Darqueze Dennard (16) has allowed more receptions in slot coverage than Johnson (11) through two weeks. Treat Kupp as a WR2 who is due for a big day.

Reynolds (61%) continues to split snaps with Van Jefferson (38%), and the rookie has looked like the superior player after two weeks. Still, fantasy viability would be tough enough to come by if either No. 3 WR had a full-time role; they’re off the fantasy grid as long as this rotation persists.

TE breakdown: Higbee caught all five of his targets for 54 yards and a trio of scores in Week 2. Over his last seven games, he’s caught 51-of-65 targets for 616 yards and five TDs. Continue to treat the Rams’ TE1 as an upper-end option at the position. Meanwhile, Gerald Everett (1-7-0 this season) has been a complete non-factor and isn’t worthy of a bench spot.

Bills Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L John Brown 71 178 4.34 1.79 Darious Williams 69 187 0.64
R Stefon Diggs 72 191 4.46 2.95 Jalen Ramsey 73 208 4.41 0.91
S Cole Beasley 68 174 1.97 Troy Hill 71 183 4.55 1.71

Projected shadow matchups: Stefon Diggs vs. Jalen Ramsey

WR/CB breakdown: Diggs caught eight of 13 targets for 153 yards and a score in Week 2. He now has 22 targets through two weeks; last year, he had 23 targets after Week 5. The Bills are heavily featuring their new No. 1 WR, and why wouldn’t they? Diggs is capable of winning at all three levels of the field and is truly one of the game’s most talented receivers.

Ramsey deserves to have his name mentioned alongside the game’s very best corners, but Diggs’ elite route-running ability makes him a tough draw for anybody. Continue to treat Diggs as an upside WR2 in fantasy land, who might just be a locked-in WR1 before too long.

Both Brown (16) and Beasley (13) have maintained steady enough involvement despite Diggs taking over as the offense’s No. 1. Smokey is deserving of borderline WR3 treatment and remains capable of popping off a game-changing play at any moment. Beasley’s ceiling is a bit more limited, but he remains a solid contrarian option to pair with Allen in DFS tournaments.

TE breakdown: Dawson Knox (concussion) isn’t a viable fantasy option even if he's healthy. He is the No. 4 (at best) option in this passing game.

Houston Texans at Pittsburgh Steelers

Texans Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Brandin Cooks 70 183 4.33 1.92 Steven Nelson 71 194 4.49 1.23
R Will Fuller V 72 184 4.32 1.9 Joe Haden 71 195 4.52 0.81
S Randall Cobb 70 192 4.46 1.22 Mike Hilton 69 184 1.63

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Fuller played 63% of the offense’s snaps in Week 2 but seemingly dealt with a hamstring issue throughout the game and ultimately spent the end of his goose-egg performance on the sidelines. I hate the term “injury-prone,” but it’s tough to deny it with Fuller. He maintains true WR1 upside during any given week, but his stranglehold on the team’s No. 1 WR job is certainly not as firm as it appeared following his 8-112-0 performance in Week 1. Fuller is best approached as more of a boom-or-bust borderline WR2 in yet another tough matchup.

Cooks was given a full-time role in Week 2 and responded by catching 5-of-8 targets for 95 scoreless yards. The longtime field-stretching WR looked as explosive as ever and is worthy of upside WR3 treatment in better matchups.

Cobb’s 5-59-0 line in Week 2 was more in line with what preseason fantasy investors were expecting. He’ll still likely be the passing game’s No. 3 option more weeks than not, but either Fuller or Cooks missing time could lead to some games with double-digit targets.

It’s been a hellacious start to the season for the Texans, but things get better in a hurry after this week:

  • Week 4 vs. Vikings
  • Week 5 vs. Jaguars
  • Week 6 at Titans
  • Week 7 vs. Packers
  • Week 8 bye
  • Week 9 at Jaguars
  • Week 10 at Browns

I’d recommend buying pretty much anyone inside of this Texans offense at their presently depressed cost. 

TE breakdown: Jordan Akins (83% snaps in Week 2) continued to dominate snap share over Darren Fells (41%). Akins (7-55-0) was far more involved in the passing game, although Fells (2-23-1) was the recipient of Deshaun Watson’s only score. Akins continues to carry sneaky-high upside with this sort of every-down role. Treat him as an upside TE2 in this tough spot.

Steelers Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Diontae Johnson 70 183 4.6 2.04 Bradley Roby 71 194 4.39 0.82
R James Washington 71 213 4.54 1.19 Vernon Hargreaves III 70 204 4.5 1.14
S JuJu Smith-Schuster 73 215 4.54 1.5 Eric Murray 71 199 4.49 0.80

Projected shadow matchups: Diontae Johnson vs. Bradley Roby

WR/CB breakdown: Ben Roethlisberger’s target distribution through two weeks is as follows:

  • Johnson (23 targets)
  • Smith-Schuster (14)
  • Washington (8)
  • Eric Ebron (7)
  • James Conner (6)
  • Chase Claypool (5)
  • Vance McDonald (4)
  • Jaylen Samuels (3)
  • Benny Snell (2)

Johnson (14-149-1) has been much closer to JuJu (13-117-2) in terms of actual production. Still, Smith-Schuster hardly has a stranglehold over this passing game. At a minimum, this is more of a 1a/1b situation, and at a maximum, Johnson is the Steelers’ new No. 1 WR.

Luckily, this sort of condensed target share should enable both Johnson and Smith-Schuster to WR2 heights. This is disappointing for those who drafted JuJu as a true WR1, but he’s hardly an afterthought in this passing game, and all this could also simply be a result of our current small sample size.

Roby has done a good job in shadow coverage against both Tyreek Hill (5-46-1) and Marquise Brown (5-42-0) to start the season, but the potential for double-digit targets locks in Johnson as a lower-end WR2. JuJu is right there with him against a Texans defense that has allowed 118 points during their last three games dating back to last season. 

Claypool (37% snaps in Week 2) continues to impress with his limited opportunities, but Washington (48%) is the one soaking up more snaps and overall targets. Neither are recommended fantasy plays as long as this rotation persists.

TE breakdown: Ebron (77% snaps) played a more pronounced role in Week 2 despite McDonald (55%) also playing more than half of the offense’s snaps. Still, this 2020 version of the Steelers passing game might not be able to allow more than two higher-end fantasy assets, particularly as long as the offense’s complementary options are largely splitting reps.

Tennessee Titans at Minnesota Vikings

Titans Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Kalif Raymond 68 182 Holton Hill 74 196 4.49 2.36
R Corey Davis 75 209 2.11 Jeff Gladney 72 183 4.48 2.62
S Adam Humphries 71 195 1.79 Mike Hughes 70 189 4.53 1.41

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: A.J. Brown (knee) remains without a clear timetable for return. Ryan Tannehill’s target distribution with his No. 1 WR sidelined in Week 2 was as follows:

  • Humphries (6 targets)
  • Davis (5)
  • Jonnu Smith (5)
  • Anthony Firkser (4)
  • Cameron Batson (2)
  • Derrick Henry (2)

Both Davis and Humphries found the end zone in Week 2. They’re more than capable of continuing to make the most out of their limited opportunities inside of this run-first offense as long as Ryan Tannehill continues to look like a world-beating talent.

Ultimately, Davis is the only WR worthy of season-long consideration against the Vikings’ mediocre secondary. He’s my WR32 on the week and would be higher if I had more confidence in TanneThrill throwing the ball more than 25 times this week.

TE breakdown: Jonnu is fantasy’s overall TE1 through two weeks. Overall, he’s caught eight of 12 targets for 120 yards and a trio of scores, demonstrating a fantasy-friendly blend of amazing YAC ability and contested-catch goodness along the way. It’s still a bit early to treat the No. 2 passing-game option (at best) in this run-heavy offense as a true top-five option at the position, but he should be in anyone’s top-10 ranks against a Vikings defense that struggled to slow down Mo Alie-Cox (5-111-0) in Week 2. 

Vikings Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Olabisi Johnson 72 204 4.51 1.86 Malcolm Butler 71 190 1.48
R Adam Thielen 74 200 2.39 Johnathan Joseph 71 186 4.31 0.51
S Justin Jefferson 75 192 4.43 1.56 Chris Jackson 72 186 1.76

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Kirk Cousins’ target distribution through two weeks has been as follows:

  • Thielen (16 targets)
  • Johnson (7)
  • Alexander Mattison (6)
  • Jefferson (6)
  • Irv Smith (5)
  • Dalvin Cook (4)
  • Kyle Rudolph (3)

Week 2 was arguably Cousins’ worst game since joining the Vikings in 2018. Yes, all three of his interceptions were arguably not his fault. Also yes, completing 11-of-26 passes against a secondary that allowed Gardner Minshew to go 19-for-20 isn’t good no matter how you want to look at it.

Thielen continues to warrant mid-tier WR1 treatment as the offense’s undisputed No. 1 pass-game option. Everyone else in this low-volume passing game is off the fantasy radar.

TE breakdown: Either Smith or Rudolph would be viable fantasy options if the other missed time. Until then, neither are recommended starts.

Carolina Panthers at Los Angeles Chargers

Panthers Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L D.J. Moore 71 215 4.42 2.15 Casey Hayward Jr. 71 192 0.98
R Robby Anderson 75 190 3.07 Michael Davis 74 196 0.94
S Curtis Samuel 71 195 4.31 0.85 Chris Harris Jr. 70 199 1.04

Projected shadow matchups: D.J. Moore vs. Casey Hayward Jr.

WR/CB breakdown: Christian McCaffrey’s (ankle) extended absence could make this offense even more pass-happy than it already was. Moore is even more established as the offense’s No. 1 pass-game option and is plenty worthy of fantasy WR1 treatment after racking up 22 targets over the first two games of the season.

Anderson is also quickly skyrocketing up the ranks, thanks in large part to his newfound underneath usage. Viewed as a one-dimensional field-stretching type with the Jets, Anderson has put up 6-114-1 and 9-109-0 performances to start the season. The Panthers have been happy to utilize him more in the underneath areas of the field.

  • 2020: 11.1-yard average target depth
  • 2019: 16.2
  • 2018: 16.9
  • 2017: 14
  • 2016: 16.6

He’s already proving to be the latest player to ball out the second they get away from Adam Gase. The Panthers’ No. 2 WR should be treated as an upside WR3 in fantasy land in this winnable spot.

Samuel has just 10 targets through two games, but he’s played at least 70% of the offense’s snaps in each, and his 4-26-0 rushing line in Week 2 could become a more consistent reality now that CMC is sidelined. The former Ohio State RB-turned-WR possesses the ability to win at any area of the field and routinely displays explosive ability with the ball in his hands. We’ll need to see better usage out of Samuel moving forward to warrant a starting roster spot, but for now, I’d certainly try to get him on the bench in case the Panthers decide to truly tap into his rushing ability.

Moore should be able to free himself from Hayward by moving into the slot, but Chris Harris Jr. isn’t exactly an appetizing matchup either. This Chargers defense has looked fantastic this season despite losing All-World S Derwin James; it’s best to keep expectations in check for this tough matchup.

TE breakdown: Ian Thomas (55% snaps in Week 2) is splitting reps down the middle with Chris Manhertz (49%); neither are realistic fantasy options with this sort of rotation.

Chargers Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Jalen Guyton 73 202 0.61 Donte Jackson 70 180 4.32 0.9
R Mike Williams 76 220 1.3 Rasul Douglas 74 209 4.59 0.62
S Keenan Allen 74 211 4.58 1.99 Jeremy Chinn 74 211 4.45 0.68

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Tyrod Taylor (chest) is expected to be sidelined for at least another week, meaning rookie Justin Herbert will be back under center. His target distribution in Week 2 was as follows:

  • Allen (10 targets)
  • Hunter Henry (8)
  • Williams (4)
  • Austin Ekeler (4)
  • Joshua Kelley (3)
  • Jalen Guyton (2)

Basically, switching from Taylor to Herbert seems to have 1.) Moved Allen back above Williams atop the passing game’s overall pecking order, and 2.) Resulted in more targets for the offense’s pair of talented backs.

Having Herbert under center is good news for everyone involved in this passing game. The rookie didn’t flinch against the defending Super Bowl champs despite not knowing he was starting until game day, and the offense figures to embrace the passing attack a bit more than if Taylor was still under center.

This might be a good spot to target Allen in DFS contests of all shapes and sizes. Both RBs will likely be a bit chalky against the Panthers’ brutal run defense; pivoting to Allen might be smart against an equally unimpressive secondary.

Williams and (to a much lesser extent) Guyton are also capable of putting together some big plays, but I’d anticipate most of the offense to flow through Allen, Henry and the backfield moving forward.

TE breakdown: Henry performed admirably in both Week 1 (5-73-0) and Week 2 (6-83-0). The stud tight end will find the end zone at some point as long as he continues to play a near every-down role. He’s anyone’s idea of a top-12 fantasy and real-life TE, although this particular matchup might not be the best spot to attack considering the potential for the Chargers to be able to run the ball as much as they please.

New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts

Jets Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Chris Hogan 73 210 1.14 Xavier Rhodes 73 218 4.43 0.89
R Breshad Perriman 74 215 0.59 T.J. Carrie 72 204 0.17
S Braxton Berrios 69 190 2.03 Kenny Moore II 69 190 0.83

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Goodness gracious. I’m not touching any of these receivers as long as Jamison Crowder (hamstring) remains sidelined. Chris Hogan (6-75-0) was fine in Week 2, but he’s dealing with an injury. Berrios (6-59-1) only had a good game because Sam Darnold decided to turn into Patrick Mahomes for a play.

There’s no reason to concern yourself with a Jets offense that 1) ranks 31st in points after two weeks of action, and 2) seems most concerned with getting Frank Gore 20-plus carries.

TE breakdown: Pain.

Colts Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Michael Pittman Jr. 76 220 4.52 0.94 Blessuan Austin 73 195 0.68
R T.Y. Hilton 70 183 4.34 1.27 Quincy Wilson 74 210 4.54
S Zach Pascal 74 219 4.55 0.66 Brian Poole 69 213 1.03

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Philip Rivers threw 46 passes in Week 1 and 25 in Week 2. Expect more of the latter than the former moving forward, particularly in a Week 3 matchup that pits the Colts as double-digit home favorites against a Jets defense that struggled to allowed the 49ers to run all over them last week.

Hilton seems in line for a nice bounce-back performance. He and Rivers haven’t been on the same page through two weeks, as the Colts’ long-time WR1 has caught just seven of 14 targets for 81-scoreless yards. Still, Hilton let a deep TD slip between his fingers in Week 2, and the absence of Parris Campbell (knee, IR) should result in a more consistent targets. The days of Hilton providing weekly WR1 production might be over; just don’t expect Rivers’ No. 1 pass-game option to finish the season without a few spike weeks along the way.

Campbell’s injury leaves the Colts without a proven No. 2 WR. Perhaps Pittman or Pascal manage to separate from the pack, but for now I’m not too optimistic about the chances of Rivers enabling more than one fantasy-relevant WR as long as his pass attempts typically stay in the mid-20 range.

TE breakdown: Mo Alie-Cox (5-111-0) was fantastic in relief of Jack Doyle (ankle, knee) in Week 2. He’s worthy of continued upside TE2 treatment if Doyle remains sidelined, while the return of the Colts’ long-time TE would render each as non-recommended options due to the likelihood that they split snaps and targets alike.

Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks

Cowboys Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Michael Gallup 73 198 4.51 1.23 Quinton Dunbar 74 197 2
R Amari Cooper 73 210 4.42 2.01 Shaquill Griffin 72 198 4.38 1.67
S CeeDee Lamb 74 191 4.5 2.04 Ugo Amadi 69 201 4.51 0.94

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Dak Prescott’s target distribution through two weeks has been as follows:

Both Cooper (PPR WR19) and Lamb (WR25) have looked great, while Gallup (WR58) has been the odd man out in terms of pass-game opportunities and accordingly production. It’d make sense if this sort of distribution continues to some extent. Cooper is the Cowboys’ $100-million man; his heavy workload isn’t going anywhere, Lamb will continue to feast on soft matchups from the friendly confines of the slot, and Gallup will get whatever is left over.

There are worse fantasy pieces than a full-time WR inside of one of the league’s best passing attacks; just realize Gallup is looking like the clear-cut No. 3 WR after two weeks of action and it’d make sense if things stay that way more weeks than not.

Cooper is my overall WR8 this week despite the Seahawks' pair of talented outside corners, while Lamb comes in as the WR30 against a defense that just allowed Julian Edelman to set a new career-high mark in receiving yards.

TE breakdown: Schultz caught 13 passes with the Cowboys during the 2018-2019 seasons; he went for 9-88-1 as the offense’s starting TE in Week 2. Yes, most of this production came with the Cowboys in comeback mode, but it’s also an example of the types of random performances that this sort of high-level offense can produce. I’m ranking Schultz as the TE20 this week in a matchup that likely won’t yield double-digit targets, although more of the same high-volume usage moving forward could quickly spike Schultz’s weekly rank.

Seahawks Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L D.K. Metcalf 75 229 4.33 2.56 Chidobe Awuzie 72 202 4.43 0.86
R David Moore 72 215 1.97 Trevon Diggs 74 207 1.62
S Tyler Lockett 70 182 4.4 2.21 Jourdan Lewis 70 195 4.54 0.7

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Russ is cooking and life is good. Both D.K. Metcalf (PPR WR6) and Tyler Lockett (WR15) have benefited from the Seahawks’ newfound willingness to let their generational talent under center consistently throw the ball.

Metcalf in particular has stood out. He joins DeVante Parker as the only receivers to give Stephon Gilmore any sort of consistent problems over the past two seasons.

Both Metcalf and Lockett are capable of providing weekly WR1 production with consistent volume. The fantasy-friendly nature of their targets will help boost the floor even in weeks that OC Brian Schottenheimer gets back to his run-heavy roots. Both receivers should be treated as borderline WR1s until further notice. Start/sit questions regarding either are a waste of time; get them in the lineup.

TE breakdown: We’d be looking at a true fantasy TE1 if any of Greg Olsen (71% snaps in Week 2), Will Dissly (49%) or Jacob Hollister (14%) had a full-time role. Alas, none are recommended fantasy options as long as snaps and targets continue to be split.

Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals

Lions Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Marvin Jones 74 198 0.92 Dre Kirkpatrick 74 196 4.5 1.02
R Kenny Golladay 76 213 4.5 Patrick Peterson 73 203 4.31 0.89
S Danny Amendola 71 190 4.58 1.85 Byron Murphy 71 190 4.55 1.42

Projected shadow matchups: Kenny Golladay vs. Patrick Peterson

WR/CB breakdown: Golladay (hamstring) is tentatively expected to make his season debut after missing the first two weeks of the season. Peterson didn’t slow down Terry McLaurin (7-125-1), although the Washington WR1’s route-running goodness and quick-twitch ability is probably a tougher matchup for the veteran CB at this point in his career. Peterson gave Golladay (2-5-0) all sorts of problems in their 2018 shadow matchup; I’m inclined to wait a week before re-anointing the Lions’ talented young receiver as a top-20 fantasy option.

The presence of Golladay might just be a good thing for Jones, who has converted his 14 targets into a rather pedestrian 8-78-1 line through two weeks. The Lions’ No. 2 WR has always been more of a 1.B option to Golladay’s 1.A, but it’s not surprising that the 30-year-old talent might benefit from less defensive attention. Jones has sneaky bounce-back upside in this potential shootout with most people likely being distracted by Golladay’s return

Amendola has posted 5-81-0 and 2-21-0 lines through two weeks, failing to play even 60% of the offense’s snaps on both occasions. The ceiling is extremely limited here, and the floor isn’t all that great either. Pass.

TE breakdown: Hockenson has caught all nine targets thrown his way for 118 yards and a score this season. And yet, he hasn’t cracked 70% snaps in a game because sheriff Jesse James continues to play roughly half of the offense’s snaps on a weekly basis. Hockenson looks a lot like one of the league’s next-great talents at the position; it’d be nice if the Lions used him accordingly. The return of Golladay doesn’t figure to help Hockenson’s target share, but he remains on the TE1 borderline thanks to 1) this flow-chart matchup, and 2) his ability to make the most out of nothing.

Cardinals Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L DeAndre Hopkins 73 212 4.57 2.43 Amani Oruwariye 73 205 4.47 0.97
R Christian Kirk 71 200 4.47 0.76 Jeffrey Okudah 73 199 4.48 3.67
S Larry Fitzgerald 75 218 4.48 1.12 Darryl Roberts 72 182 1.04

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Kyler Murray has focused most of his efforts on getting Hopkins (25 targets) the ball through two weeks. Sure, Fitzgerald (12) and Kirk (9) haven’t been ghosts, but concerns surrounding Nuk’s ability to earn a high-end target share with the Cardinals have proven to be a non-issue. Nuk is arguably fantasy’s No. 1 overall WR in a week with Michael Thomas (ankle), Davante Adams (hamstring) and Julio Jones (hamstring) all banged up.

Old-man Fitz isn’t completely washed, but I’d rather throw a dart at Kirk in this tantalizing matchup. Through two weeks Kirk (180 air yards) has been used more downfield than Hopkins (144). He’s clearly the offense’s field-stretching receiver; both Hopkins (5.8 yard aDOT) and Fitzgerald (3.5) rank among the league’s bottom-five WRs in average target depth among 58 receivers with at least 10 targets. Kirk (23) ranks first if we move the target threshold down.

Kirk had a fantastic deep-ball catch in Week 2 and seems cemented as the offense’s premiere field-stretching option. Facing a banged-up Lions secondary that made Mitch Trubisky look great fewer than 14 days ago, Kirk is one of my favorite DraftKings plays this week at just $4,500.

TE breakdown: The Cardinals continue to utilize two TEs on a weekly basis, with Dan Arnold (73% snaps in Week 2) most recently losing work to Darrell Daniels (56%). Credit to Arnold for catching two of four targets for 26 yards, but he’s this offense’s No. 4 to No. 5 pass-game option in a best-case scenario. There are higher upside talents at the position we should concern ourselves with.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Denver Broncos

Buccaneers Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Mike Evans 77 231 4.53 1.54 Michael Ojemudia 73 199 4.45 2.05
R Scotty Miller 71 174 1.45 Bryce Callahan 69 188 1.01
S Chris Godwin 73 209 4.42 2.03 Essang Bassey 70 190 4.46 0.79

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Godwin (concussion) is expected to return to the field in Week 3. TB12 and company got in the win column in Week 2, although 217 yards and a score through the air wasn’t exactly the breakout performance fantasy investors were hoping for. This was hardly Brady’s fault; both Scotty Miller and LeSean McCoy dropped TDs, and through two weeks the Buccaneers have dropped a league-high 10 passes.

Still, Brady’s arm continues to look plenty alive. He’s PFF’s third-highest-graded QB on passes thrown 20-plus yards downfield as only Jared Goff (100% catchable deep-ball rate) and Russell Wilson (83%) have been more accurate than Brady (80%) when throwing long.

I’m just a little pessimistic that this is the spot for the Buccaneers’ passing game to truly explode. The low game total and location in a stadium that has given Brady more trouble than not over the years leads me to value higher-floor options in DFS. Evans and Godwin need to be locked into starting fantasy lineups regardless of the matchup; just realize that this fit remains a work in progress.

TE breakdown: Through two weeks both O.J. Howard (5-47-1) and (especially) Rob Gronkowski (2-11-0) have been pretty nonexistent. Once again, coach Bruce Arians’ offense simply hasn’t leaned on the TE position at all through the air. The potential for Cameron Brate to get more involved in upcoming weeks would add further competition to the position. Stay away.

Broncos Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L K.J. Hamler 69 173 1.5 Jamel Dean 73 206 4.3 1.07
R Tim Patrick 77 210 0.93 Carlton Davis 73 206 4.53 1.1
S Jerry Jeudy 73 192 4.45 2.23 Sean Murphy-Bunting 72 195 4.42 0.97

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Driskel (10.3) joins Matthew Stafford (10.9) and Jameis Winston (10.9) as the only QBs with a double-digit average target depth since the beginning of last season. He’s posted 5-37-0, 8-51-1, 9-63-0 and most recently 2-5-0 rushing lines in his four extended appearances over the past two seasons. Throwing for 256 yards and a pair of scores off the bench against the Steelers’ elite defense deserves praise, although the Buccaneers also boast anyone’s idea of a great defense, and the absence of Courtland Sutton (knee) leaves the Broncos painfully thin on proven pass-catchers.

Jeudy has struggled with drops, but already has the look of the league’s next great route-running extraordinaire. Hamler also deserves credit after flashing in his NFL debut, catching 3-of-7 targets for 48 yards while also adding a nine yard rush. Both Patrick and DaeSean Hamilton will also be involved, but I expect Hamler to ultimately emerge as this passing game’s No. 2 option.

The Buccaneers’ underrated secondary doesn’t present much reason for optimism, but Jeudy can be somewhat safely slid into starting lineups moving forward. I’d wait for a better matchup before getting too optimistic about the upside of any of these other receivers.

TE breakdown: Noah Fant has posted 5-81-1 and 4-57-1 receiving lines this season, demonstrating the same sort of God-mode YAC ability that helped him put together an efficient rookie season. Potentially the No. 1 pass-game option with Sutton sidelined, Fant is anyone’s idea of a TE1 moving forward.

Green Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints

Packers Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Davante Adams 73 215 4.56 3 Marshon Lattimore 72 192 4.36 0.88
R Marquez Valdes-Scantling 76 206 4.37 3.02 Janoris Jenkins 70 190 1.61
S Allen Lazard 77 227 4.55 1.66 Chauncey Gardner-Johnson 72 208 4.48 0.76

Projected shadow matchups: Davante Adams vs. Marshon Lattimore

WR/CB breakdown: Adams (hamstring) didn’t practice on Wednesday. He’s plenty capable of winning this likely shadow matchup; just realize 1) Adams might be operating at less than 100%, and 2) Lattimore has the ability to make life tough on even the league’s best receivers when he’s on his A-game. Obviously Adams isn’t leaving a season-long starting lineup if he has a pulse, but showdown DFSers might be better served getting contrarian and fading the Packers’ undisputed No. 1 WR.

MVS (7-160-1 on 13 targets) is the offense’s lead field-stretching WR and is the preferred fantasy dart over Lazard (7-108-1 on 9 targets). Overall, only Adam Thielen (17.8 yards) has a higher average target depth than Valdes-Scantling among 57 WRs with at least 10 targets this season.

The absence of Adams would improve the ceiling of both complementary WRs; just realize Aaron Jones might actually wind up working as the offense’s No. 1 pass-game option. Only Alvin Kamara (17) has more targets than Jones (14) among all RBs through two weeks, and he’s averaged seven targets in six games with Adams sidelined or injured mid-game since the beginning of last season.

Check out my Week 3 RB breakdown for analysis on all 32 backfields around the league.

TE breakdown: Robert Tonyan (60%) dropped a TD, and then caught one, while Jace Sternberger (22%) worked behind Marcedes Lewis (45%) in terms of reps. None are recommended fantasy options as long as they continue to operate in a three-TE committee.

Saints Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Deonte Harris 66 170 1.48 Kevin King 75 200 4.43 0.88
R Emmanuel Sanders 71 180 4.4 0.59 Jaire Alexander 70 196 4.38 1.39
S Tre'Quan Smith 74 210 4.49 1.53 Chandon Sullivan 71 194 4.6 1.52

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Drew Brees’ target distribution in his first game without Michael Thomas was as follows:

  • Alvin Kamara (9 targets)
  • Smith (7)
  • Jared Cook (5)
  • Harris (5)
  • Ty Montgomery (3)
  • Sanders (3)
  • Latavius Murray (2)
  • Josh Hill (2)
  • Adam Trautman (1)

Last week I was #out on Smith’s ability to function as a fantasy-relevant option during Thomas’ absence. Well, Brees sure fed the third-year receiver like he was the offense’s No. 1 pass-catcher, and Smith responded with some truly impressive YAC. The potential to spend plenty of time across from Jaire Alexander isn’t ideal, but Smith is worthy of boom-or-bust WR4 treatment.

Sanders and Harris are unplayable at the moment until we see some level of consistent targets. It’d hardly be shocking if the overwhelming majority of Brees’ targets go to Smith, Cook and Kamara.

Superdome Brees remains one of the surest things the fantasy football world has ever seen. Overall, Brees has thrown for multiple scores and/or surpassed 300 yards in 13 of his last 14 games at home. The non-cake matchup and potential for Thomas to be inactive lowers the ceiling of the entire offense, but don’t expect the Saints offense to continue to sputter for much longer. 

TE breakdown: Cooks’ 2-13-1 performance was a bit disappointing, but he does appear to be locked in as the offense’s No. 3 option in the pass game. Things are particularly bright in the red zone; Cook has converted 4-of-6 targets inside the 10-yard line into scores since joining the Saints in 2019. Continue to treat him as a locked-in TE1 during Thomas’ absence.

Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens

Chiefs Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Tyreek Hill 70 185 1.84 Jimmy Smith 74 210 4.42 0.24
R Sammy Watkins 73 211 4.43 1.58 Marcus Peters 72 195 4.53 0.62
S Mecole Hardman 70 187 4.33 0.78 Marlon Humphrey 72 197 4.41 0.94

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: The Ravens’ beastly secondary seemingly hasn’t lost a step without Earl Thomas, as they’ve allowed just 5.2 net yards per pass attempt — the second-lowest mark in the league.

The good news is they haven’t made a habit of asking their corners to travel with a single receiver since Peters joined the show, meaning Hill might be able to be schemed into some slightly more fantasy-friendly matchups.

Make no mistake about it: Patrick Mahomes and company are capable of putting up points on anybody.

Mahomes threw for 374 yards and three scores against this defense in 2019, but that was before they added Peters. This certainly isn’t the matchup to target the offense’s complementary receivers, but continue to treat Hill as a high-end WR1 overdue for a massive performance.

TE breakdown: Travis Kelce, TE1, THE TE1, ya’ll, regardless of the matchup.

Ravens Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Miles Boykin 76 220 4.42 1.47 Rashad Fenton 71 193 4.52 0.98
R Marquise Brown 69 170 2.75 L'Jarius Sneed 73 193 4.37 0.77
S Willie Snead IV 71 205 4.62 2.33 Tyrann Mathieu 69 185 4.5 0.96

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Lamar Jackson has made a habit of spreading the ball around through two weeks, posting the following target distribution:

  • Brown (12 targets)
  • Boykin (9)
  • Mark Andrews (9)
  • Snead (6)
  • Nick Boyle (4)
  • Mark Ingram (3)
  • Patrick Ricard (2)
  • Devin Duvernay (2)
  • J.K. Dobbins (1)

I expect Andrews to rise up to the top sooner rather than later, but the lack of disparity between Brown and Boykin is surprising. Don’t get it twisted; Hollywood is the No. 1 WR and leads the team in both target share (26%) as well as air yard market share (38%). Still, Boykin is an underrated DFS play that possesses the sort of athletic ability to make the most out of his limited opportunities.

Snead continues to start in three-WR sets, but carries an extremely limited ceiling as the No. 4 pass-game option in this run-first offense.

TE breakdown: Andrews narrowly scored another pair of touchdowns in Week 2 but wound up with a disappointing 1-29-0 line instead. The performance marked just the fifth time that Andrews had fewer than six targets with Jackson under center; continue to fire him up as a top-three fantasy TE regardless of the matchup.

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