Week 2 – Thursday Night Football

Houston Texans at Cincinnati Bengals

Houston Texans

Quarterback – Well, that certainly didn’t take long – for those that had Week 2 being when we had the first incoming dud of a Thursday night game, you can collect your winnings at the ticket window.  This game has a 38 o/u with the home town Bengals favored by six points.  Yes, the same Cinci squad that was shut out by the visiting Baltimore Ravens last Sunday.  While this section is of course about rookie Deshaun Watson (FDr – $10,000, DK – $4,400, FDu – $6,700) there really is no reason to roster him in most formats this week (except for BOOM Fantasy). And even there it is just a contrarian move.

Running Back – It would appear that Lamar Miller (FDr – $10,000, DK – $5,300, FDu – $6,400) is the one individual player we can look to from the Texans in this Thursday night tilt since he will be one of the focal points on offense for Houston, the other being WR DeAndre Hopkins who we will address in the next section.  We can project 18-22 touches for Miller, since he is still relatively fresh at this time and because he is a threat in both the running and passing game with a rookie signal caller making his first start likely to lean on his backfield mate.

Of course the Bengals are aware of this as well and it is hard to project Miller as more than the RB10-15 on the week with an estimated stat line of 15-18 carries for 60-80 yards with a couple receptions thrown in and a 50/50 chance of finding pay dirt.

Wide Receiver – To borrow a well-worn, yet apropos phrase from Mike Tyson – “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”  The Bengals defense is going to do their best to harass Deshaun Watson and that means he may not have time to look to DeAndre Hopkins (FDr – $11,000, DK – $5,800, FDu – $7,400) with accurate throws.  The targets will likely be there, though probably not as many as the 16 Hopkins saw last weekend on 79 snaps, it would not be a shock at all to see him with double digit targets.  Of course how many of those will be at his feet, behind him or just out of his leaping grasp.  Let other take the chance as there are so many more receivers in this price range going on Sunday that we are theoretically better off choosing Door #2.

Tight End – With C.J. Fidorowicz placed on the injured reserve with a concussion and TE2 Ryan Griffin out with a concussion of his own, there is no need to consider whomever is stepping into this role for the Texans as they game plan may be to just give him another blocker on the line in a semi-max protect scheme on passing downs.

Defense/Special Teams – Even with the dud performance from Bengals field general Andy Dalton this is not really a matchup that jumps off the page this week for the Texans, though there will be times this season that they are recommended in home matchups and of course whenever they are squaring off against the Indianapolis Colts.


Cincinnati Bengals

Quarterback – It will be hard for QB Andy Dalton (FDr – $10,900, DK – $5,500, FDu – $7,000) not to improve upon last week’s turd of a performance when he was 16 for 31 with 4 INTs and just 170 yards at home against the Baltimore Ravens.  That said, he is unlikely to crack the top ten quarterback performances for Week 2 and unless you are trying to get cute in a Monday-Thursday contest, let others roll the dice.

Running Backs – the three-headed committee of Giovani Bernard (29 snaps, 7 carries, 40 yards, 2 targets, 1 reception, 39 yards), Jeremy Hill (10 snaps, 6 carries, 26 yards, 1 target, 1 reception -2 yards) and Joe Mixon (22 snaps, 8 carries, 9 yards, 3 targets, 3 receptions, 15 yards) should be crossed off your list until at least one of them is injured or inactive.

Wide Receivers – Okay, A.J. Green (FDr – $14,700, DK – $7,800, FDu – $8,200) is one player that we can actually consider for tournaments, however, that is what all the Thursday night action junkies will conclude as well.

This looks like a spot where he should replicate the 55 snaps and 10 targets of last week, the main key will be can he improve on the five receptions with 74 yards results.  We need two more catches, a flirtation with the 100 yard receiving plateau and a touchdown and he will be worth the selection.

Tight Ends – One target, one $%*&~! measly target?! The four yards on the reception were absolutely no solace what-so-ever. Tyler Kroft is not the tight end I am referring to because he turned his one target into five yards, which is 20% more than Tyler Eifert (FDr – $8,000, DK – $4,300, FDu – $5,800).  2016 was a bit of a lost season since he missed the first six games due to injury and averaged 6.7 targets 4.1 receptions, 56.3 yards and had five touchdowns in seven games.

However, his 2015 campaign was buoyed by 13 touchdowns in 13 games including an outstanding four with at least two scores.  That fondness we are remembering is that most of us had him in a lineup for at least one of those games and we are overlooking the 5.7 targets, 7.4 receptions and 47.3 yards which are not that stellar without the touchdowns, particularly on half-point per reception sites.  If Eifert finds pay dirt he will be a top ten tight end on the week, if not he will be skirting with the edge of being useful.

Defense/Special Teams – The Bengals are a solid defense at home and they will be going against a true blue rookie who will be making his first start in a very hostile environment.  This unit is definitely in play and should be in the mix for a top five finish on the week (excluding touchdowns) with a handful of sacks and likely multiple turnovers.


Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons

Green Bay Packers

Quarterback – In a fun twist, this will actually be the third time the Packers and Falcons have squared off in the last year with Atlanta playing host during week Week 8 in a one point 33032 victory and again in the NFC Championship Game when the Falcons decimated Green Bay 44-21.

Across these two games, Aaron Rodgers (FDr – $14,000, DK – $7,400, FDu – $9,100) averaged 27.5 completions on 41.5 attempts for 266.5 yards and seven touchdowns with just one interception.  He also scrambled ten times in this pair of games for 106 total yards.  All his receivers are healthy along with a designated lead running back which compared to Week 8 last year when Aaron Ripkowski, Don Jackson and Knile Davis combined for 13 carries and 48 yards, is a MASSIVE UPGRADE.  Rodgers is lining up to be a top three quarterback option this week.

Running Back – It looks like Ty Montgomery (FDr – $10,900, DK – $5,800, FDu – $6,500) is officially the Packers full-time running back with the former Stanford star playing 74 snaps and getting 19 of the 21 running back carries for 54 yards and a score along with four targets for four receptions and 39 yards.  Atlanta was pretty porous on the road in Chicago last week allowing 19 carries for 125 yards and a score to the Bears who were led by QB Mike Glennon which should strike fear into no line backing corps.

This is a good matchup for Montgomery albeit things are tougher on the road.  Montgomery should be on the fringe of top ten running back status this week which is just fine for his fair price point across the industry.

Wide Receiver – The Packers certainly know how to work over the Seattle Seahawks defense allowing Davante Adams (FDr – $10,500, DK – $5,600, FDu – $6,700) to be the sacrificial lamb on the outside, accepting that the ‘Hawks would roll coverage help toward Jordy Nelson (FDr – $15,000, DK – $7,900, FDu – $8,100) leaving Randall Cobb  to work underneath (FDr – $11,000, DK – $5,900, FDu – $6,300).

While CB Desmond Trufant will be lurking in the secondary, he does not always shadow a specific receiver, particularly when the opposition has so many options.  Based on a price/potential ratio, I would rank this trio Nelson, Cobb and Adams – and for those of you particularly looking for some extra boom/bust action using two of the three with Aaron Rodgers is a viable tournament strategy for all slates.

Tight End Martellus Bennett (FDr – $7,900, DK – $3,900, FDu – $5,300) got to square off against his brother Michael last weekend and he ended up playing 67 snaps receiving six targets converting those into three receptions for 43 yards.  He is viable as a standalone option or paired with Aaron Rodgers.

Defense/Special Teams – This game rivals the New England Patriots at New Orleans Saints for the highest projected point total at 54, so there is no real reason to choose either team unless you are attempting to get creative in the hopes for a special teams score or two on the Sunday/Monday prime time slate.


Atlanta Falcons

Quarterback – In the two meetings last season, Matt Ryan (FDr – $14,100, DK – $7,500, FDu – $8,200) posted 288 yards and 3 scores in the regular season tilt and 392 yards and 4 scores in the NFC Championship game, with nary a single interception. This will be a much tougher matchup for the Packers than Russell Wilson and the Seahawks were last week and it is likely we will see Ryan vying with Aaron Rodgers in the mix at the top of the quarterback production rankings this weekend.

Running Back – In Week 1 the duo of Devonte Freeman (FDr – $13,700, DK – $7,300, FDu – $8,100) and Tevin Coleman (FDr – $10,000, DK – $5,300, FDu – $5,700) shared the workload with Freeman seeing action on 36 snaps with 12 carries for 37 yards and a score, while catching both targets for a grand total of two receiving yards.  Coleman played fewer snaps at 24 but saw a similar touch total with 8 rushes for 16 yards and six targets for four receptions and 42 yards.

While I know I am probably biased as a University of Washington alum, but my fellow Armenian new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian did not seem to have much of a strategy last week.  Until some sort of plan is hinted at, it is going to be tricky to figure out which (if either) back has the advantage over the other.  Both are in the mix as RB2 options for the prime time slate and they are viable tournament plays in the full slate contests.

Wide ReceiverJulio Jones (FDr – $17,400, DK – $9,200, FDu – $8,800) and Mohamed Sanu (FDr – $8,800, DK – $4,500, FDu – $5,300) are in play this week with Julio of course being a top three projected option and Sanu coming in as the discounted “possession” type receiver.  Keep in mind that in the first meeting last season, Jones was kept in check with only three catches for 29 yards on five targets and it was Sanu who led the way with 10 targets, nine receptions and 84 yards with a score HOWEVER five of those catches and the touchdown came on the games last drive.  This duo is definitely in play as one-offs or with their quarterback and we can even consider them as a trio since they both work different parts of the field and the game plan.

Tight End – Congratulations to those of you with TE Austin Hooper (FDr – $7,000, DK – $3,500, FDu – $5,500) last week as we saw a ceiling game with an astounding 128 yards and a score coming on two receptions after he snagged both of his targets.  At his current price points, he is still in play on all sites – just have your expectations calibrated appropriately.

Defense/Special Teams – As mentioned above with the Packers, this game rivals the New England Patriots at New Orleans Saints for the highest projected point total at 54, so there is no real reason to choose either team unless you are attempting to get creative in the hopes for a special teams score or two on the Sunday/Monday prime time slate.



Detroit Lions at New York Giants

Detroit Lions

Quarterback – So much for the Monday Night Hammer!  However, on the prime time slates, we will be looking to this game making up half of our player pool, so let’s see what we have to work with.  Matthew Stafford is in the mix for the Monday-Thursday games, but for the Sunday-Monday night games we have Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan who are both much more appealing options.

Stafford was outstanding in his 2017 debut at home against the Arizona Cardinals with 29 completions on 41 attempts culminating in 292 yards with 4 touchdowns against 1 INT.  It is unlikely we see that performance against the Giants who have a solid defense, but when looking at our Monday-Thursday field general options of Jeff Goff, Brian Hoyer and Eli Manning – we will have a use for the veteran Detroit signal caller.

Running Back – Ameer Abdullah was the clear lead back seeing 15 rushes and four targets, however, that all came on just 36 snaps.  Theo Riddick was on the field for 21 plays receiving 7 targets and catching 6 for 27 years and a touchdown. Dwayne Washington was in the mix for 14 snaps running the ball six times for 22 yards.  This is a whole lotta meh, however, Abdullah and Riddick are pivots away from Todd Gurley and Carlos Hyde on the Monday-Thursday slate.

Wide Receiver – Now we have something to work with in Golden Tate who had 12 targets for 10 receptions and 107 yards along with two rushes for seven yards (hey, it is nice seeing the Lions trying to get him involved in all facets of the game).  He is the top dog with Marvin Jones a tournament dart throw in the hopes he breaks a long one against the Giants.

Tight End – If the NY Giants pass rush is able to get more pressure on Matthew Stafford, we can hope that Eric Ebron is more involved in the passing game.  Last week he was pretty much invisible with just three targets for two catches and nine yards on 51 plays.  Keep in mind last season he only had one touchdown in 13 games, despite having 61 receptions for 711 yards. He did top 60 yards in six of those games, so there is some upside, even if it has never really been realized…

Defense/Special Teams On these short slates, particularly with our less than enticing options, we are just looking to corral a return touchdown.


New York Giants

Quarterback – Eli Manning looks to be dunski, particularly without Odell Beckham Jr. who is currently listed as questionable (but has a better than even chance of playing as of Saturday evening).  If Beckham is around, then he elevates Manning into consideration.  The play would be to be ready to pivot to Matt Stafford/Golden Tate in tournaments if Beckham is a no go on Monday in the Sunday-Monday night contests.

Running Back – Well, literally every other team on the primetime slates has one or even two running backs with more upside than Paul Perkins aka the “lead” back and change of pace “3rd down back” Shane Vereen.  It was a horrible game for Perkins from a “flow” standpoint and he was on the field for just 17 plays with 7 rushing attempts for 16 yards and three targets for two catches and nine yards.  Vereen on the other hand was on the field for 31 plays (out of 56 total) and had what will likely be a season high 10 targets, catching 9 for 51 yards.  These guys are salary savers at best, with the hopes your choice lucks into a touchdown.

Wide Receiver – Wow, remember when Victor Cruz was doing the salsa in the end zone?  He may be an upgrade over anyone not named Beckham.  Too bad he is not with the team – but I bet he would answer the phone if they called after he didn’t make it out of the Chicago Bears training camp.  Odell Beckham is in play for tournaments, but I will let others take the risk since he is not at full health and if that is my downfall, then so be it. The “Never Again” crowed will be off of Brandon Marshall so if ODB is out, he could be an option IN THE QUARTER JUKE BOX GAMES!  Sterling Sheppard is a viable option, if he slots in to your otherwise stellar lineup as the last guy.

Tight End – How many times are the announcers going to mess up Evan Engram and Eric Ebron on Monday Night? I am setting the over/under at 2.5 mistakes.  I think Engram will be overlooked on both primetime slates and like him as a contrarian place to plant my flag after his 48 snaps, 5 targets for 4 receptions and 44 yards performance during Week 1 against the Cowboys.

Defense/Special Teams – The G-Men are the play on the Sunday-Monday games and definitely in the mix as an alternative play to the Rams/49ers on the Monday-Thursday games.  My estimate is that they will be 40%ish on both slates and I am fine with joining the crowd.  When he is pressured, the “new” Matt Stafford will take a sack or throw the ball away instead of giving up a cheap turnover, but the Lions allowed 37 sacks last season which was in the bottom third of the league.


If you have questions, reach out to me in the NFL Slack Channel.

Good Luck Gamers! ~ EMac