What an unbelievable week of football we just watched.  We saw a 17 point home favorite get blown out by a team without it’s Pro Bowl running back.  We saw the Patriots get locked down by what seemed like the worst defense in the NFL a few weeks ago.  Best of all, we saw Fitzmagic throw another 400 yards and three touchdowns.  This has been one of the most unpredictable years in fantasy, and I love it.

Texans at Colts

Despite what we all thought, Jacoby Brissett still has a healthier arm than Andrew Luck.  They took Luck out for a Hail Mary attempt last week.  That is really discouraging.

Favorite Matchups

The Texans have given up a touchdown to opposing tight ends in two out of three games this season.  And the other game was against Jonnu Smith without Marcus Mariota.  If Jack Doyle keeps missing time with his hip injury, I love Eric Ebron.  He saw 11 targets last week.

T.Y. Hilton has averaged over 90 yards and .75 touchdowns against the Texans in 12 career games.  Hilton might not be getting the downfield looks, but he is seeing decent enough volume to be a good play against this division rival.

The Colts have allowed the second-most receptions to opposing running backs, and Lamar Miller keeps on trucking.  Until I see him start to lose volume, he’s staying in the RB2 tier for me.

 

Matchups to Avoid

The Colts have been surprisingly incredible against opposing wide receivers.  Maybe it’s the return of Malik Hooker at safety?  Maybe it’s the new defensive scheme from Matt Eberflus?  Either way, I wouldn’t bank on the Texans receivers.

 

Bills at Packers

The Bills just dominated one of the best defenses in the NFL and the Packers defense just got dragged through the mud by the Redskins offense.  I’m not too certain how this one is going to play out, but I still like my odds when I bet against Josh Allen.

Favorite Matchups

The Packers got ran over by Adrian Peterson and the Bills are generally a solid rushing team.  They should be getting back LeSean McCoy in this one, so I’m comfortable rolling him out there.  Especially if Josh Allen’s rushing keeps improving.  Having to account for a dual-threat quarterback is what made the Bills such a good ground team in recent years.

Randall Cobb had an awful game last week, but he still saw good volume.  The Bills slot corner is Taron Johnson, and he just got abused by Adam Thielen.  In two games, he has been targeted 19 times.  I fully expect Aaron Rodgers to pick on him all game long, setting Cobb up for a great day.

Matchups to Avoid

Davante Adams has proven to be a terrific #1 option for the Packers, but I’m terrified of his matchup this week.  Tre White just shadowed Stefon Diggs and shut him down to 14 yards on three catches.  I fully expect White to travel with Adams in this one.

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I wrote last week that the best way to exploit this Packers defense was with receivers on the outside.  They gave up a long touchdown to Paul Richardson early last week, confirming my doubts about their ability on the edges.  This would be a great matchup to exploit, but the Bills just don’t throw the ball downfield.  Allen mostly threw screens, checked the ball down, or scrambled.  His downfield touchdown was schemed wide open.  You still can’t play Kelvin Benjamin.

Buccaneers at Bears

Personally, I would argue that Fitzmagic cost them the game.  He was pressured and he made some poor throws, got some balls tipped, and was sacked often.  You can blame much of that on the line, but he held the ball too long on many of those plays.  He likely hasn’t lost his starting job, but he might this week.

Favorite Matchups

Allen Robinson continues to be a target hog with 28 through three games.  Even with the washed Brent Grimes back, the Buccaneers secondary is still one of the worst in football.  Trubisky will be peppering Robinson with targets again.

Chris Conte was stiff-armed into injured reserve by Vance McDonald, so I could easily see Trey Burton having a solid game.  He’s averaging five looks a game, so you could do worse.

Jordan Howard broke 20 touches last week and the Bucs aren’t very good against running backs.  If he keeps up his bell-cow role, he’ll start having massive games.

Matchups to Avoid

It’s hard to justify benching Ryan Fitzpatrick after the start he is having to the season, but this Bears defense is just so good at generating pressure and limiting opposing receivers.  I would be concerned, especially after seeing Fitzpatrick throw three picks under pressure on Monday night.

The Bears have been good at limiting opposing tight ends so far, and O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate are still killing each other’s fantasy stocks.  I’m avoiding that situation.

Dolphins at Patriots

The undefeated, AFC-leading Dolphins are traveling to Foxborough to take on the Patriots and their struggling offense.  Not a line that I ever envisioned myself typing at the start of the season.

Favorite Matchups

Despite his struggles, Rob Gronkowski is still the most dominant tight end in the NFL.  He is sixth among tight ends in passer rating when targeted, seventh in yards per target, second in air yards, and sixth in contested catch rate.  And he’s been a dud the past two weeks.  If you can buy low, go for it, but I think he’s about to dominate the Dolphins.

The Dolphins are turning into a team that you do not want to test on the outside with Xavien Howard and Bobby McCain playing like Pro Bowlers this season.  This will inherently force other teams to use their tight ends and running backs in the passing game, which is why James White is a prime target here.  Rex Burkhead (RIP) just went in IR and White is the only proven pass catcher in that backfield.

The Patriots were just the first defense in 70 games to give up 100 rushing yards to a Lions running back.  I like to think that Kenyan Drake will feast on this linebacker corps.

It’s 100 percent narrative-based, but Danny Amendola revenge game?

Matchups to Avoid

Xavien Howard has been one of the best shut down corners in the game this season.  With Chris Hogan already struggling to make an impact in this offense, I have absolutely zero confidence that he’ll turn it around this game.

Lions at Cowboys

The Cowboys have one of the most impressive streaks running: Getting through a full season without Sean Lee playing a full 16 games.  It’s really astounding how this dude can’t stay healthy, and I’m not sure who is to blame.

Favorite Matchups

After snapping the rushing streak, Kerryon Johnson will be up against the Cowboys without Sean Lee.  They are absolutely brutal on defense when he doesn’t play.

Lee’s absence will also be felt in the passing game, giving everyone on Detroit a nice boost.  The Cowboys do have a good pass rush, but the Lions line should hold up fine.

The Lions have also been shredded by running backs, so Zeke is an obvious play here.  He’s worth the price in DFS as well.

Matchups to Avoid

If you were ever considering playing a Cowboys receiver, Detroit really only has one good cover corner and that is Darius Slay.  The problem is that the Cowboys don’t have a single good receiver, so they’ll all see Slay at some point.

Bengals at Falcons

After having an abysmal primetime showing in the red zone on the NFL’s opening night, the Falcons are now a perfect 8/8 in the red zone.  Who would have seen that coming?

Favorite Matchups

After seeing Brees and Ryan duel it out last week, I think any game that features the Falcons is primed to become a shootout.  Andy Dalton is the prime streaming option this week.

Gio Bernard is the chalk of the week.  His pass catching talents set him up nicely against a defense that gave up 14 catches to Christian McCaffrey and 15 catches to Alvin Kamara.  He is the ultimate bargain in DFS.

Ben Watson did just put together a solid game against the Falcons.  Add in Tyler Eifert’s extended playing time last week and you’re looking at a solid tight end play.

If A.J. Green is hobbled at all, and even if he isn’t, Tyler Boyd is having a breakout year and should be a great play this week.

The Bengals got shredded by the Colts tight ends in week 1 and also gave up a score to Ravens tight end Mark Andrews in week 2.  I could see Hooper having a nice day, and he already has more red zone catches that Julio Jones.

Matchups to Avoid

Not much to avoid in this one except for defenses.  You should always be starting your studs, and I also see nothing wrong with the secondary guys from these offenses.

Jets at Jaguars

It is amazing how you think you can rely on Blake Bortles in cash and then he completely bones you.  Shame on me for expecting anything out of that guy.  His defense held the opposing team to nine points and they still couldn’t win.

Favorite Matchups

If Fournette is healthy enough to play, I think they lean on him heavily.  Their offense didn’t get anything going on the ground the past two weeks and they’ll likely look for that spark against the Jets.  In weeks 9 and 15 last year coming off of an injury, he received 17 and 18 carries.

It may be a little risky, but I think Quincy Enunwa is still a start against this Jags defense.   He is seeing a 31 percent target share and has played nearly 60 percent of his routes from the slot.  He’ll likely avoid Jaylen Ramsey for much of the game with that kind of usage.

Matchups to Avoid

Robby Anderson has played on the outside most of the time and has gotten only 10 looks through three games.  You can’t trust that.

The Jets have an underrated secondary and I think the Jags won’t throw very much with Fournette driving the offense.  I’m off of all of their receivers and Blake Bortles is only in consideration for two-quarterback leagues.

Eagles at Titans

Marcus Mariota may not be able to grip a football properly, but he can still win games.  This doesn’t really help us for fantasy football, but his toughness is impressive nonetheless.

Favorite Matchups

Everyone’s favorite late-round wide receiver, Rishard Matthews, has officially been released setting Taywan Taylor up for a huge role in this offense.  Taylor has already seen over 30 percent of the slot snaps for the Titans and will be facing Jalen Mills, who has been a liability in coverage thus far.  He’s a super sneaky play for me.

If Alshon does come back this week, Nelson Agholor should kick back into the slot after playing on the perimeter a good bit last week.  That is where he thrives and the Titans got torched in the slot by Kenny Stills and Will Fuller this year.

Wentz looked bad last week, but the game was rainy and he didn’t have a full complement of weapons.  I like him much better in this one.

Matchups to Avoid

The Eagles have been one of the best defenses against opposing running backs in terms of rushing and receiving, so I’d be hard pressed to play Dion Lewis or Derrick Henry.  They are just eating into each other’s work too much and the matchup doesn’t favor either.

I still don’t believe Mariota is healthy enough to play.  The velocity just wasn’t there last week and it led to only 100 passing yards.  I’m avoiding until we get more promising news out of Tennessee.

Browns at Raiders

So Baker Mayfield comes in for a struggling Tyrod Taylor and completes over 70 percent of his passes for 200 yards and wins you your first game in over two years, but you still have to “watch the tape” before saying he’s the starter?  I literally hate Hue Jackson.

Favorite Matchups

Jared Cook is a top-five tight end play.  The Browns are notoriously bad at covering tight ends and Cook has pretty much been the focal point of the Raiders offense.

Jarvis Landry is about to lead the league in targets again, but this time he might break 1000 yards along the way.  The Raiders have been very beatable through the air, and I think Baker Mayfield will dominate in this offense.

I’m optimistic about David Njoku’s chances as well.  Mayfield and Njoku showed good chemistry in the preseason.

Matchups to Avoid

Denzel Ward has been excellent this season and will look to shut down Amari Cooper.  It doesn’t really take too much to do that either.  Remember when Cooper put on 20 pounds in the offseason?  It really didn’t help.

The Browns are leading the league with 11 turnovers and Derek Carr has looked anything but careful with the football.  The pass rush will get to him and he’ll toss a few here and there.

Seahawks at Cardinals

Imagine a team taking David Johnson off of the field for a crucial play in the fourth quarter because he missed a call in pass protection.  Instead of making him pass protect, why not just put his ass in a pass route and not have to worry about that?  This coaching staff is unbelievable.

Favorite Matchups

The Cardinals have struggled against running backs, primarily due to game script, and Chris Carson just topped 30 touches.  If the Seahawks are fully committed like they showed last week, Carson should have a huge workload again.  Fire him up.

Doug Baldwin has a shot at playing.  Monitor him closely, but he averages over 100 yards and .66 touchdowns per game against the Cardinals over the last three seasons.

David Johnson salvaged some questionable usage with two touchdowns last week, but if this coaching staff wants to stay employed he will get 25 touches in this game.

 

Matchups to Avoid

Despite the depleted secondary, the Seahawks have still been decent against receivers.  And now they have Josh Rosen in his first start against a division rival.  I’m concerned playing anyone in the Cardinals passing game.

Saints at Giants

Shootout Saints are back and they are here to stay.  They have elite talent at edge rusher and cornerback, yet they still can’t cover or generate any pressure.  This is what we want in fantasy.

Favorite Matchups

Absolutely nobody can hang with Michael Thomas.  He is catching an absurd 95 percent of his targets.  And he is leading the league in receptions entering week 3.  This is literally unheard of.

Kamara is, once again, my top overall player.  He saw 20 targets last week and the Giants still have poor linebackers trying to guard running backs in space.  Kamara should feast and hopefully find the end zone

Sterling Shepard will either be against P.J. Williams, who gave up three touchdowns and over 100 yards to Calvin Ridley, or Ken Crawley, who was benched for the guy that gave up three touchdowns and over 100 yards to Calvin Ridley.  I like his chances.

Both quarterbacks are obviously in play as top 10 guys.

Matchups to Avoid

It’s hard to bench Saquon Barkley, but the Saints are holding opposing running backs to under 3 yards per carry and only nine catches on the season.  That is the lone bright spot on this otherwise brutal defense.  This game has a massive implied point total, so I would still trot him out there no matter what.

49ers at Chargers

JUST GO OUT OF BOUNDS JIMMY G.  WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO TAKE ON THREE DEFENDERS ON THE SIDELINE?  Injuries like this suck for the NFL.  All it does is hurt scoring and ruin fantasy football for the 49ers.  Now we’ll have to choke down C.J. Beathard running a Kyle Shannahan offense for the rest of the season.

Favorite Matchups

Kyle Juszczyk (checks spelling) seems to benefit the most from Garoppolo’s injury.  Beathard targeted running backs on over 20 percent of his pass attempts last season and in this preseason.  Alfred Morris and Matt Breida are still offering the bare minimum in pass catching.  Plus, he caught a wide open touchdown pass last week.

Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler are in a prime spot.  When the Chargers were blowing out the Bills in week 2, they pulled Gordon and Ekeler got plenty of run.  I could see the same happening.

I’m really hoping Keenan Allen retakes his spot in the top five of wide receivers.  He has a great matchup here and his team is favored by a lot.

Matchups to Avoid

It’s hard to know what to expect from this offense without Garoppolo.  I’m benching all of my Niners until I see how bad this is going to be.

Mike Williams will spend most of his day against Richard Sherman.  Sherman is clearly not the player he once was, but he is a physical corner with good size and matches up well with Williams.

Ravens at Steelers

This game has a surprisingly high team total, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that these teams aren’t what they used to be.  The Ravens are still missing their big-time corner in Jimmy Smith, and the Steelers haven’t been the same since they lost Ryan Shazier.

Favorite Matchups

I think the Steelers have a new WR1.  JuJu Smith-Schuster is seeing a 27 percent target share to Antonio Browns 30 percent, but JuJu is running almost 80 percent of his routes from the slot to Browns 8 percent.  Brown has owned the slot the last few years because it puts him in much better matchups.  Now that JuJu is in that territory, he’s the one producing.  I still think they are both top plays, but Brown might be outscored in fantasy by the end of the year.

The Steelers are a bottom-five team against opposing receivers.  John Brown has transitioned into the best receiver on the Ravens and his deep skills mesh the best with Joe Flacco’s arm.  He and Michael Crabtree are in for good games.

Matchups to Avoid

All three of the Ravens tight ends ran 14, 16, and 18 routes.  And now Hayden Hurst is expected back.  How is anyone supposed to stand out when you draft 15 tight ends in a two-year window?

The only thing these defenses are good at is stopping running backs.  They are both top-10 against running back fantasy points, so I’m likely looking away from James Conner and Alex Collins.  Conner doesn’t have the workload concerns that Collins has, but these are not good matchups.

Chiefs at Broncos

It looks like Fitzmagic is the real deal.  This is an unprecedented situation.  We have seen in the past a rookie take over for an absent veteran and keep the job, but we have never seen a young, perceived-franchise starting quarterback lose his job to a 34-year-old journeyman quarterback that is having the best fantasy start in NFL history.  How can you justify taking Fitzmagic out?  But then again, would you put your franchise on him for the next two years?  So incredibly interesting to me.

Favorite Matchups

Mahomes threw another three touchdowns.  Shocking.  I think he’ll do it again.

Tyreek Hill might get shadowed by Chris Harris in this one.  That is a tall task, but I still think Mahomes gives Sammy Watkins and Travis Kelce the targets.  After a confusing week 1, they have both lit it up the past two weeks and can officially be trusted in fantasy.

Kareem Hunt finally got the goal line rushes!  He isn’t necessarily getting the passing game usage that we want, or really any for that matter, but he is still getting close to 20 touches per game.  That is volume you can bank on.

Matchups to Avoid

Not much to be said about this game except to avoid Royce Freeman.  This will be a heavy negative game script and Freeman isn’t getting any pass work.  He’s barely getting any groundwork either if we’re being honest.

 

Like always, thanks for reading!  I’m very pleased with how most of my predictions have been turning out this year.  Fantasy football has so much variance that I have to celebrate all my small victories.  Be sure to follow me on Twitter @jtaysmith16 and let me know if you have any feedback.

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