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Once again in 2016 (come September), we are bringing you in-season NFL Team Reports from our "Eye in the Sky" correspondents. These reports represent a local point of view which isn't readily available on the web. We remind everyone, the views expressed within these reports contain speculation as well as fact. It's just another extra bonus from FFMastermind.com to keep all fantasy football fanatics well informed.
This scouting position is vacant. If you are interested in covering this team, please contact us. Thank you.
Wow. How can these guys suck so bad? Two games into the Season and Fins Fans are wondering why we wasted so much time and talk looking forward to this year. A new Head Coach, supposedly an Offensive Brain and QB-Whisperer. New Offensive and Defensive Coordinators. Some high priced Free Agents to solidy the D. And this is what we get.
Miami absolutely SUCKED versus the (Cow) Patties. Led by 2nd String QB Jimmy Garappolo New England moved the ball at will, converting 5 out of 5 Third Downs 7 yards or greater.
First impression – you gotta wonder if Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph has ever watched football. New England’s got a bunch of shifty little receivers. A quick shake and bake at the line, then they slant one way or the other. Everybody knows this. At least apparently everybody except the Fins Coaches and DBs. Byron Maxwell gives Julian Edelman a 12 yard cushion on 3rd and 9. Another play (think it was Amedola) the Corner covering gives him a 10 yard cushion. At the snap the Receiver comes off the line, the DB starts back-pedaling. The Receiver takes 2 steps, cuts across the middle. The guy covering him isn’t even in the same Area Code.
Once again, once the game is over, Miami mounts a garbage-time rally to get within reach before putzing out at the end.
RB Arian Foster is hurt. Now there’s a surprising development. RB Jay Ajayi, coming off the hissy fit that got him benched Week One, fumbles. Fins brought in Rookie RB Kenyan Drake on passing downs last week, might be worth picking up on waivers with Foster already dinged and Ajayi heading for the doghouse.
This week Miami gets just what the doctor ordered – the Cleveland Browns. At least that’s how it looks on paper. The Brownies are down to their 3rd String Quarterback and their hot rookie Receiver is out as well. You would think it’s pretty obvious that CLEVELAND IS GOING TO TRY AND RUN THE BALL. Let’s see if the Miami Coaches, specifically Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, displays any cognizance of this at all.
This should be a Snack Time game for any Fins players you have on your roster. I’d imagine RB Jay Ajayi gets the start, unless he has another hissy fit or fumbles. Also remember TE Jordan Cameron was signed away from the Browns last year. If he’s ever going to have a good game, ths should be it. If you have the Miami Defense, this is the game to play them.
Miami wins this game or we start our Chimpanzee Watch. A couple years ago we were joking we could’ve put a Dolphin cap on a chimpanzee, stuck him on the Dolphin sideline, and he would’ve had the same record as Cam Cameron. The Fins get this win over the hapless Brownies or we start the same for Adam Gase.
Jimmy The Finger
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Last week, the Patriots were rolling against Miami and then the unthinkable happened. QB Jimmy Garoppolo went down with a shoulder injury. QB Tom Brady is out for a role in under inflating footballs QB Jacoby Brissett will take the reins with 2 games left on QB Tom Brady’s suspension. Rumors are floating that WR Julian Edelman will be the emergency backup quarterback this week.
Fantasy Stars from last week vs Dolphins (31-24 victory)
QB Jimmy Garoppolo 18 of 26 for 232 yards and 3 TD RB LeGarrette Blount 29 carries 123 yards 1 TD TE Martellus Bennett 5 catches 114 yards 1 TD WR Julian Edelman 7 for 76 yards PK Stephen Gostkowski 4 XPts 1 FG
This week the Patriots have a short week playing on Thursday Night Football in Boston playing Houston. This should be a great game and it could be that the QB situation gives a slight edge to Houston tonight.
QB: QB Jacoby Brissett isn’t someone you want to start on your fantasy team but it will be fun to see what the rookie and the best coach of all time can come up with a plan to keep this game close and allow the RB and WR of the Patriots (including TE) to make the final difference and ride the defense this week. Don’t start QB Jacoby Brissett but watch how he does for next week.
RB: RB LaGarrette Blount is the one to own this week. Blount will have nearly 30 carries again this week and punch in a TD. Early and often to Blount will be the war cry!
WR: I would look for options other than the Patriot WR except for WR Julian Edelman. Edelman may play some QB and throw some passes as well. Short dink and dunk passes all day will occur. PPR leagues, start WR Julian Edelman, TE Martellus Bennett, WR Danny Amendola and maybe even RB James White.
Prediction: This game should be close, but let’s call this a Patriot Victory 23-20 versus Houston this week.
RB LeGarrette Blount TE Martellus Bennett
Good luck this week!
NEW YORK JETS
The New York Jets have had plenty of time to prepare for traveling to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs. The Jets last week played on Thursday night and defeated the Buffalo Bills 37-31 in a game that wasn’t as close as that score indicates.
NY Jets Fantasy Stars last week:
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick 24/34 for 374 and 1 TD RB Matt Forte 30 for 100 yards and 3 TD WR Eric Decker 6 for 126 and 1 TD WR Brandon Marshall 6 for 101 WR Quincy Enunwa 6 for 92
Quite the offensive firepower this week against the Buffalo Bills. The Kansas City Defense will not be so kind this week in Kansas City.
QB: Ryan Fitzpatrick will not be a top QB play this week against the tough KC Defense. Start him if you have an injury or didn’t want to play a QB on Thursday Night.
RB: RB Matt Forte was a complete stud last week and no reason to think he won’t be a stud and used heavily this week. Obviously, RB Matt Forte is a must start.
WR: The Jets now have 3 viable top Wide Receivers. WR Eric Decker, WR Brandon Marshall, and WR Quincy Enunwa should be considered a top 50 WR and a very good alternate for injuries and matchup starts.
Must Starts this week against Kansas City:
RB Matt Forte WR Eric Decker WR Brandon Marshall
Could Start: WR Quincy Enunwa QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
Outlook: The Chiefs will be a very tough foe but the Jets have had plenty of time to get ready. Let’s call that even. The Jets offense will continue to get better but may struggle this week against a better defense than Buffalo. This game will be close and being at home gives Kansas City a slight edge. Look for a 28-27 game in KC’s favor.
This scouting position is vacant. If you are interested in covering this team, please contact us. Thank you.
This scouting position is vacant. If you are interested in covering this team, please contact us. Thank you.
Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.-- Oscar Wilde
Browns Eye in Sky Report, MASH edition. First game the Browns starting quarterback broke his shoulder, the second game the Browns starting quarterback broke his collarbone. First game, one of the Browns rookies was nominated for rookie of the week but broke his hand. Second week, one of the Browns rookies was nominated for rookie of the week and broke his hand. If losing two starting quarterbacks and the top-two performing rookies was bad, it obviously wasn't bad enough. C Cameron Irving was lost due to a bruised lung and I'm sure someone will come down with terminal flatulence before the week is out. ENOUGH ALREADY! Jesus Christ almighty. Onto the numbers.
QUARTERBACK PLAY As noted QB Josh McCown had 'decent' numbers as he connected on 20 of 33 passes for 260 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He even ran twice for 0 yards after breaking his collarbone. Guy is tough and deserving of boo coo respect. Unfortunately Josh is OUT and rookie QB Cody Kessler will get his first NFL start Sunday. Big RED light no-start for Kessler whose mission is to survive.
RUNNING BACK PLAY Isaiah Crowell busted off the second longest run in club history with an 85 yard burst and finished up with 133 yards on 18 carries with 1 touchdown along with 1 reception for 15 yards. Unfortunately the team forgot about the run or we could have run out the clock. It doesn't seem like Miami will worry too much about stopping Cody Kessler and will focus on stuffing the run so we will have to RED light no-start RB Isaiah Crowell this week.
RECEIVER PLAY Bad news continues as rookie WR Corey Coleman broke his hand in practice and is out for the next month after breaking out against the Ravens with 5 receptions for 104 yards plus 2 touchdowns. Rookie WR Rashard 'Hollywood' Higgins will see playing time and is a verrrrrrrrry deep sleeper for deep leagues. Obviously this is not the game to start any Browns receiver so RED light the Browns receivers this week.
IDP REPORT As noted, rookie DE Carl Nassib broke his hand and will be out for awhile after his fine opening game performance. LB Demario Davis chalked up solid stats with 4 solos and 5 assists. NT Danny Shelton had 2 solos and 7 assists and is starting to produce and develop as a player. The other big name was CB Joe Haden who had 2 interceptions his first since 2014. Joe looks like he is back so GREEN LIGHT starts for LB Demario Davis, NT Danny Shelton and CB Joe Haden this week.
We can do without any injuries this week, thank you.
"Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears." Marcus Aurelius
Aspettate fino alla prossima volta... Till next time, Ciao!
The 2-0 Steelers defeated the 1-1 Bengals 24-16 at Heinz Field. The Steelers controlled the game throughout before the Bengals rallied, falling short unlike the previous week against the 1-1 Jets. The Bengals scored on a 25 yard touchdown pass from QB Andy Dalton to RB Giovani Bernard with 3:23 remaining. After a 3 and out by the Steelers the Bengals were again driving before a fumble by WR Tyler Boyd forced by LB James Harrison and recovered by S Robert Golden basically ended the game. In fairness Boyd appeared down before the fumble, but no replay clearly showed his knee and the ball at the same time so the ruling on the field stood. Next up are the 2-0 Eagles led by rookie QB Carson Wentz at Lincoln Financial Field. The Steelers have lost 8 straight in Philadelphia, last winning in Franklin Field during the LBJ administration. Of course the current players rightfully don't care.
QB: The final numbers for QB Ben Roethlisberger against the Bengals were solid from a fantasy perspective thanks to 3 touchdowns. On the field he was much more inconsistent than the opener. Roethlisberger completed 19 of 37 passes for 259 yards and added 2 interceptions. No reason not to expect marked improvement this week despite the Eagles pass defense being ranked 5th in the league giving up under 200 yards per game. That was against the 0-2 Bears and 0-2 Browns, both of whom lost their starting quarterbacks during the game. There is no comparison between them and the Steelers passing offense.
RB: The only player averaging over 100 rushing yards per game after two weeks is RB DeAngelo Williams. He has gained 237 yards on a league leading 58 carries. Against the Bengals he ground out 94 yards on 32 carries and caught 4 passes for 38 yards and a touchdown. Williams has one more game as the workhorse back before the return of RB LeVeon Bell from suspension. The Eagles are 28th in the league giving up 4.7 yards per rushing attempt so Williams gets another week of being a top fantasy option in all formats.
WR/TE: A rare off week from WR Antonio Brown with only 4 receptions for 39 yards. Roethlisberger must take some of the blame misfiring to an open Brown on several occasions. Brown did drop what would have been a third down conversion in the second quarter. Anything less than a return to form from the tandem this week would be a major disappointment. Don't bet on another off week for Brown. Talk that WR Eli Rogers would have a bigger role especially with WR Markus Wheaton again sidelined proved to be unfounded. Rogers dropped from 7 targets in the first week to only 3, catching a single pass for 9 yards. I advocated taking a wait and see approach with Rogers last week even in PPR leagues. That doesn't change. Wheaton supposedly could have played last week being held out to get into better game day shape after suffering a shoulder injury just after the third preseason game. Roethlisberger seemed fixated on getting WR Sammie Coates the ball down the right sideline. Coates ended up with 2 receptions for 97 yards. A 53 yard reception in the third quarter led to a touchdown. Roethlisberger was also intercepted and could have been intercepted again throwing deep down the sidelines to Coates. Expect Coates to have a role as a big play threat even with the return of Wheaton. Things need at least a few weeks to shake out before any decisions can be made from a fantasy perspective. The tight ends had a nice day against the Bengals, yes that is plural. TE Jesse James had 3 receptions for 29 yards and a touchdown. TE Xavier Grimble vultured 2 catches and a touchdown from James. Consider that more aberration than weekly occurrence. James is basically a boom-or-bust fantasy option. He could score any week, but his receptions and especially yardage totals are unlikely to ever be among league leaders. Byes start in week 4, James could become very useful.
K: The success of the offense in the red zone has hurt PK Chris Boswell. Currently Boswell is tied for 17th among kickers in scoring with 14 points. He has made both of his field goal attempts and 8 extra points without a miss. The field goals were from 46 and 49 yards. For fantasy purposes sticking with Boswell is the most prudent course. Based on the last several seasons with Boswell and PK Shaun Suisham before him the opportunities should come.
D/ST: The defense has been shockingly good especially in the red zone and against the run. Opponents have scored only a single touchdown in 7 red zone opportunities. The Steelers are tied for 8th in scoring defense having allowed only 32 points in 2 games. Opponents are converting only 27% of third down opportunities, the 4th best mark for a defense in the league. The run defense has given up only 50.5 yards per game behind only the Packers. This is in part due to the offense getting and holding on to early leads. Last week WR AJ Green was held to only 2 catches for 38 yards. Unfortunately Bernard had 100 yards receiving. The bend-but-don't break pass defense is ranked 31st, having trouble stopping backs and tight ends. Only 1 sack ties the defense with the 1-1 Falcons for last. The 4 takeaways are actually tied for 4th.The Eagles have yet to turn the ball over. QB Carson Wentz is the first rookie since the merger to start and win his first 2 games without committing a turnover. Does this mean he's due? It's early in the season and I had no faith in the Steelers defense on the field or from a fantasy perspective to start the year. While there has been improvement in certain areas this is not a week to gamble on the Black and Gold.
The Texans O succeeded but also struggled last week, clearly they are trying to establish their target identity.
The D has clearly established its identity. They don’t have the intensity of the Denver D but they’re moving in that direction. DE J.J. Watt is knocking off the rust; last week he played at about 65%. The front seven has several young players that are coming on. The secondary excels in teamwork and are playing better each game. The D is catching a rookie QB this week; consider them a start after almost scoring last week.
‘Bumpidy’ QB Brock Osweiler has yet to find his rhythm but seems to be overcoming ‘suspect’ plays by finding a way to win. Start him by all means this Thursday night in New England as he tries to play his way to stardom.
The OL play hurt RB Lamar Miller chances to put up better numbers. Clearly he is the best runner on the team. In the last seven minutes of the game the OL and Miller were impressive eating up the clock. With RBs dropping like flies around the league if you have him on your roster you’ve got to play him.
WR DeAndre Hopkins and rookie WR Will Fuller both had outstanding games. I thought this would be the game when we would see some of the other young receivers step up. Clearly that hasn’t happened yet. I would definitely start both of them this week.
The special teams took a big step backwards last week. I didn’t see any silly blocking in the back penalties but they forgot how to cover punts and kick-offs. I believe that P Shane Lechler was out kicking his coverage. I would start New England’s special team this week because they will have a chance to return one if the Texans’ coverage teams repeat their poor play.
Should be a good game in New England for the Texans for a change. It’s high time for this franchise to show that they can run with the big dogs. The fans travel with the team each week and are tired of watching the organization continue to piss with the puppies. It’s time to hoist a Superbowl flag in Houston.
Hey there Colts’ fans! Here are my thoughts on this Sunday’s must win game at home against the visiting Chargers:
Injuries: As usual this is the largest section of the report. In addition to all the debilitating injuries on the defense, this week the boys in blue lost a key member of the offense as WR Donte Moncrief will be out for at least a month with a fractured shoulder blade. Ouch. WR TY Hilton also missed a lot of practice this week, but is expected to play. In addition, reports surfaced just today that QB Andrew Luck is more injured than was let on and that he suffered a more serious shoulder and neck/head injury when OL Joe Reitz landed on him during Aqib Talib’s pick-six on Sunday. Of course the team denies this last report and Luck was a full go at practice on Friday, but the fact is that Luck is listed as questionable with a right shoulder injury again this week. Starting RG Denzelle Good (back) will be out this week, and it is unclear if rookie OL Joe Haeg or former center OL Jon Harrison will start there (my bet is on Haeg). On the defensive side of the ball, starting CB Patrick Robinson had a setback from his concussion and will be out again this week, and CB Darius Butler’s hammie will keep the nickel back out as well. It looks like they will get back shutdown CB Vontae Davis and speedy FS TJ Green this week which will greatly enhance the depleted secondary, and LB Trent Cole and FS Clayton Geathers should play although they have seen limited duty thus far. Another big return to the lineup will be last year’s anchor in the middle, DT Henry Anderson making his 2016 debut.
QB: Despite having a questionable tag and a major part of his weaponry unavailable to him, there is a decent chance that Luck might do some decent damage this week. The Chargers were not exactly stalwart in getting waxed by the generally unimpressive Chiefs’ passing game and gave up a lot to Blake Bortles last week. With the Chargers being very beatable in the back end (allowing around 350 YPG in 2016), there should be yards to be had. I can see Luck having a little more time this week as play-action should actually be useful this Sunday. Luck should be a solid #1 with 280-300 yards and a pair of scores.
RB: I expect RB Frank Gore to have his best fantasy game of the young season (although it wouldn’t take much to do that, to be fair) as he should be able to exploit the Chargers run defense. They have given up around 5 YPC, although only a league-low 22 rushing attempts since they have taken large early leads in both games. As the Colts will be trying to keep Rivers off the field and protect their overworked defense, I suspect a heavy dose of Gore to shorten the game. I think Gore will approach 100 total yards with a score, making him a low end #1 and a great #2 this week.
WR: WR TY Hilton is second in the NFL ion targets through 2 games, just one off the NFL lead….but is 37th in receptions, 48th in yards and 57th in points among WRs. He simply is not connecting with Luck, only catching about 1/3 of the passes thrown his way, and as such I cannot recommend him as a likely great play until those percentages start to climb. However, someone getting that many targets is a must play for your fantasy team – but with potentially tempered expectations – since sooner or later that many chances will get you some points. With Moncrief out, WR Philip Dorsett rises to the starting lineup and he will see a slight uptick in targets – although he already had more targets than Moncrief anyway. I suspect that the deep ball will come into play with the Chargers’ below-average pass rush and weak secondary, so both of these guys have a better than average chance of a score, although I lean towards Dorsett for now. Dorsett also is third in the NFL at this time with three catches of 30+ yards already, so the deep ball could be a factor this week. WR Chester Rogers will be the #3 and is worth a watch or stash in larger or deeper leagues, but is unstartable yet.
TE: The biggest beneficiary of Moncrief’s injury will not be Dorsett, but will be TE Dwayne Allen as the Colts use a double tight end set more frequently and he can hit the pattern while TE Jack Doyle blocks. Allen is probably a low end #1 this week based on the matchup. This week is a great time to start using the two tight end sets, since the Chargers are among the worst teams in the league in defending the tight end; they have allowed the third most targets, receptions and yards thus far to opposing tight ends and in each week the opponents used both tight ends in the passing game as weapons. This week it probably even bodes well for Doyle being PPR serviceable if you have lost a tight end to injury and need a waiver wire replacement. I suspect these two will combine for 8-10 catches and 80-100 yards with a TD, likely the score going to Allen.
K: The Chargers have given up the fewest kicker points through two games in 2016. The Colts’ kickers have rarely done well in this matchup either, although the last time they met, PK Adam Vinatieri did kick three FGs including two from beyond 50 yards. While I suspect this will be a higher scoring game, I can see his role being reduced primarily to PATs instead of FGs. You likely have a better play on the waiver wire as he is a solid #2 kicker this week to my view.
D: With the return of the bulk of the expected starters, the team might actually have a better chance at making a play here or there. However, I didn’t suspect that they will be able to contain the Chargers offense enough to keep the score down, so don’t expect any bonus points if your scoring system is based on points allowed. The Colts are still unplayable as a fantasy defense, although I have a hunch that this week portents well for the special teams -- the Chargers force very few fair catches so PR Quan Bray could get a chance to make an impact play.
Overall: The Chargers have won 6 of the last 7 against the Colts, with Phil Rivers being 5-1 as a starter. The offense is #2 in the NFL and the defense still has yet to show they can stop anyone, so if the Colts are going to be in this game, it will have to be a shootout. It is important to remember that most of the Chargers’ damage has been done with YAC on short passes, so hopefully the return of some defensive starters will mean an improvement in the shoddy tackling that has plagued the first two games. I can see Melvin Gordon having a big day, and for the Colts to stay in the contest if they don’t fall in an early hole like San Diego’s first two opponents. This is a must win for the Colts because the rest of their schedule looks tough for a while, and I suspect that the home cooking and the long trip for the Chargers will be a factor as the Colts win this one 31-27
That is all for this week from the Crossroads of America. Enjoy the games and the Indiana summer weather throughout much of the Midwest. Until next week friends, remember to remain…..COLTSTRONG!!!
Indianapolis 20 Denver 34
QB Andrew Luck and the Colts have been a thorn in the Broncos' side, and he's one of the league's best comeback QBs. But the Broncos have the league's best defense at squashing late rallies. In the first half, QB Trevor Siemian and the offense moved the ball with ease as they racked up 215 yards through the air and 79 more on the ground. The Broncos found success through the air early against Indianapolis (Siemian-Thomas). Added strong runs by RB C.J. Anderson to keep the Colts off balance. And the Broncos defense made crucial plays in the second half to seal the win. CB Aquib Talib recorded his eighth career pick-six early in the fourth quarter. But no single-possession lead is safe against Andrew Luck, so OLB Von Miller strip-sacked Luck and OLB Shane Ray sealed the win, returning it 15 yards for a touchdown. Ray will have an extended role with Ware injured. Between the performances by his wide receivers and his better decision making, Siemian took a step forward on Sunday. But the victory was a costly one: OLB DeMarcus Ware suffered an ulna fracture near his elbow and is likely to miss 4-5 weeks after surgery; TE Virgil Green is day-to-day with a strained right calf; OG Donald Stephenson suffered a calf injury that should keep him out 2-3 weeks.The Broncos have been inside the opponent's 30-yard line 12 times this season but have just four touchdowns and four field goals to show for it. All four Broncos turnovers this season have come inside their opponent's 30-yard line. The Broncos are struggling in the red zone on both sides of the ball. Opponents have scored 31 of a possible 35 points when crossing into the Denver red zone (at its 20-yard line), while piling up 40 of a possible 56 points on drives that crossed the Denver 30. The whole team needs to improve in the red zone.
Box Score QB Trevor Siemian 22/33-266-0-;1-7-0; FB Andy Janovich 0-0-0; 1/1-11-0; RB C.J. Anderson 20-74-1; 3/5-19-0; RB Devontae Booker 9-46-0; 1/1-5-0; RB Kapri Bibbs 1-7-0; WR Demaryius Thomas 5/7-90-0; WR Emmanuel Sanders 3/8-39-0; WR Cody Latimer 2/2-12-0; WR Jordan Norwood 3/4-24-0; WR Jordan Taylor 1/1-20-0; TE Virgil Green 3/3-46-0; K Brandon McManus -PAT 2/2/FG 4/5; DST sacks 5 fumbles 1 int. 1 (pick-six)
Denver @ Cincinnati
The Broncos travel to Cincinnati where they will face QB Andy Dalton and the complete offense of the Bengals. Dalton threw for 366 yards against the Steelers in his week two loss. Pittsburgh stimied the Bengals running game, but RB Giovani Bernard burned the defense in the passing game 9/11-100-1. The Bengals had four receivers with eight targets each, with Tyler Boyd being the most effective 6/8-78-0. Both Bernard and Boyd lost a fumble in the game. The offensive line gave up one sack and the defense recorded one sack and two interceptions. Look for Denver to protect QB Trevor Siemian in his first game away from Mile High with their running game. But Kubiak has faith in his young quarterback so the long boot passes will be part of the game plan. Cincinnati is favored by 3 at home. The offenses prodution is compareble with Dener's defense having the edge. Denver 21- Cincinnati 17
QB Trevor Siemian may be worth 0-7 points FB Andy Janovich may be worth 0-1 points RB C.J. Anderson may be worth 11-15 points RB Devontae Booker may be worth 2-6 points RB Kapri Bibbs may be worth 0-1 points WR Demaryius Thomas may be worth 11-14 points WR Emmanuel Sanders may be worth 11-12 points WR Bennie Fowler may be worth 1-3 points WR Cody Latimer may be worth 1-3 points WR Jordan Norwood may be worth 2-3 points TE Virgil Green may be worth 4-7 points TE Jeff Heuerman may be worth 0-1 points PK Brandon McManus may be worth 2-7 points
DST may be worth 4-9 points
Good luck this week!
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
In a nutshell, you can’t put the ball on the turf 3 times in a tight contest and expect a win. QB Alex Smith lost 2 fumbles and week 1 hero Spencer Ware lost another. Smith was also unusually inaccurate and out of sync with his WRs. WR Jeremy Maclin lacked concentration catching the football, securing just 6 of his 15 targets. Prior to KC’s final drive, Maclin had just 3 catches. Hard to figure why Coach Reid only ran the ball 16 times in a tight ballgame. Here’s the scoring breakdown; the Chiefs were never out of this one, but...
8:01 HOU DeAndre Hopkins 27 yard pass
from Brock Osweiler (Nick Novak kick) (0-7)
14:55 KC Cairo Santos 53 yard field goal (3-7)
4:16 HOU Nick Novak 32 yard field goal (3-10)
1:21 HOU Nick Novak 24 yard field goal (3-13)
14:56 KC Cairo Santos 43 yard field goal (6-13)
09:34 HOU Nick Novak 31 yard field goal (6-16)
7:34 KC Cairo Santos 35 yard field goal (9-16)
2:56 HOU Nick Novak 43 yard field goal (9-19)
0:49 KC Cairo Santos 30 yard field goal 12-19)
STARTING LINEUP vs Houston Texans, Week 2: QB Alex Smith RB Spencer Ware WR Jeremy Maclin TE Ross Travis, Demetrius Harris, Travis Kelce OL Eric Fisher LT, Zach Fulton LG, Mitch Morse C, Jah Reid RG, Mitchell Schwartz RT
DL Dontari Poe NT, Allen Bailey RDE, LB Dee Ford LOLB, Derrick Johnson LILB, Justin March RILB, Frank Zombo ROLB DB Marcus Peters LCB, Steven Nelson CB, Phillip Gaines RCB, Eric Berry SS, Ron Parker FS GAME BALLS: RB Spencer Ware (105 YFS- I’ll overlook the lost fumble here), RB Charcandrick West (6-61 rushing), KR Tyreek Hill (146 return yards and 105-yd KO TD lost on a flag)), LB Derrick Johnson (11 tackles, 8 solo, 1 sack), CB Marcus Peters (2 more INTs)
Let’s get to this week’s game as the Jets fly into town.
The o-line is under reconstruction this week, crumbling from various injuries. Guard Jah Reid is dealing with ankle and knee injuries and it is unclear if he will play Sunday. LG Parker Ehinger missed the last game with concussion-like symptoms and it is unknown if he will be available. RG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif has a high ankle sprain and his status for the Jets is unclear. Coach Reid hasn’t ruled RB Jamaal Charles out yet, but with the way Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West are performing, it would be prudent to give Charles as much time as possible to hit the field fully ready to roll.
Alex Smith is going to have to rebound from his very disappointing week 2 flop. Ball security and on-time passing are a must against an aggressive and stout defense of the Jets. Coach Reid will likely come out with a run-heavy early game script, but he’ll want to get Smith a couple of quick and short completions to get into a good flow early. Jeremy Maclin has to do a better job bringing the ball in and cannot leave another 9 throws hit the turf. It would really help if Coach gets another wideout involved early and often to even out the Jets coverage some. Maclin will be up against CB Darrelle Revis in this one. If you are watching highlights or cuts ups of games, you’ll notice that Revis is clearly no longer the Burmuda Triangle for WRs... he is getting torched. Maclin can win out over Revis in man, or take what the CB gives up in zone, but the Jets will likely roll safety help to that side. This is where Coach Reid needs another wideout to step up versus single coverage... and actually go that way more than the obligatory 2-4 times a game. Chris Conley is a gifted size/speed receiver but he sees few targets. Albert Wilson can be a dangerous slot producer, but like Conley, is seldom targeted. It’s Maclin and Travis Kelce... and the RBs. The Jets secondary is giving up 11.0 yards per attempt to QBs 2 games; that’s huge! Gang Green is getting blasted downfield, giving up 14 pass plays over 20 yards, 5 of which have traveled 40+ yards. We all know Smith is not going to load it up and start chucking 40-yarders, but KC’s wideouts are good YAC getters and should be given more than a cursory opportunity to breakout. While Conley and Wilson are speedy options, I can’t help but think that Coach Reid will try to get rookie Tyreek Hill more “looks” with the football on offense this week. Hill is just so explosive, and he runs with RB-like vision with the ball. The way the Jets DBs are getting toasted, I can see Tyreek Hill expanding his snaps on offense as well as his touches; deep, short, hitches, reverses... it’s there Coach! WRs are netting 19 yards a catch on the Jets DBs. Take the shot and get after them consistently. Travis Kelce will see his usual 6-8 targets. RBs Ware and West can do what they do best, and pick up yards on the ground and receiving. Hopefully the o-line will be able to stay consistent. Injuries are denting the interior, guards. Again, one way to limit an injured offensive line’s potential for miscues is to get the ball out short, quick, on time and on target. Alex Smith has been sacked 7 times and it’s not all on his front line; he’s holding the ball too long at times. The Jets will bring the heat, having bagged QBs 7 times. Smith’s mobility is a weapon, but defenses are now starting to rush and contain o Smith and the sacks will continue if the KC QB doesn’t let it go quicker. The Chiefs will move the football this week, and the WRs should play a bigger role. I feel something special from Tyreek Hill here.
ON the IDP front, why do QBs insist on testing CB Marcus Peters? The KC corner is already playing like a cagy 7-year shutdown veteran, setting up opposing passers with great positioning, taking sharp angles in his breaks on the ball and sure hands when he gets there. Peters gets a gimpy Brandon Marshall this week, if Marshall plays at all. Without Marshall the 2nd year ball hawk will cover Eric Decker. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is a fearless and at times reckless passer and will throw to Peters’ side if his receiver “looks” open. Peters is very likely to come away with yet another INT; he had 2 last week. A concern is on the other side where CB Phillip Gaines appears to have injured a knee in practice and is questionable. He may give way to Steve Nelson. Nelson is better suited for nickel/slot duty and would be a liability covering Decker or physical wideout Quincy Enunwa. The Jets don’t throw to the TE, using Enunwa as a matchup nightmare inside. Safety Eric Berry is also dealing with a knee and missed some practice time. He could be a half-step slower out there, and again, trying to cover Enunwa or Matt Forte out of the backfield will be a challenge. Containing Forte is a battle all-together. ILB Derrick Johnson will have Forte duty and pile up the tackles. OLB Tamba Hali has his own knee woes and is on a snap count. His days as a productive pass rusher are gone. Gotta get Johnson on IDP lineups here. Chasing Forte all game will bring a high tackle count. Marcus Peters is a pick machine and you just know edgy QB Fitzpatrick will take the bait on at least one pass.
Special teams... Tyreek Hill. Its coming folks. He had a 105-yard kick off TD called back on a flag last week. Just electric!
As always, the Chiefs will not make this easy, and the Jets are a tough challenge.
John Cooney is a Senior Staff Writer for Fantasy Football Mastermind.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
In week 2 play, the San Diego Chargers defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars by the score of 38-14. While the Jags aren’t exactly Super Bowl material, but clearly it was a good old fashioned butt kicking. This week, the Bolts play the Colts in Indianapolis. This report will be a review of the win over the Jags as well as a preview of this week’s Chargers at Colts game.
QB: Last week, San Diego QB Philip Rivers went 17-24 for 220 yards, 4 TDs and no interceptions. While Rivers has lost several of his key players, his talent and options are such that he looks to be a solid week 3 fantasy option
RB: Unfortunately, RB Danny Woodhead (ACL) is lost for the year. To replace Woodhead, San Diego has signed free agent RB Dexter McCluster. While McCluster’s talent level is not up to Woodhead’s level, he should eventually be a decent fantasy option. For now, he probably should be grabbed from the free agent pool and stashed until he learns the playbook and sees regular play. RB Melvin Gordon carried 24 times for 102 yards and a TD and had 3 catches for 18 receiving yards. I heard HC Mike McCoy say that Gordon isn’t running any differently than he did last year, and with all due respect to Coach McCoy, that’s simply not true. I noted substantial improvement in decision-making and burst just before Gordon was injured last year. It seemed as if the game had slowed down and he was beginning to trust his instincts and abilities. Based on his performances, it seems appropriate to elevate him to a fantasy RB1. RB Kenneth Farrow may see more action than usual, but he is a risky play and should likely be avoided.
WR: As you likely know, the Chargers #1 WR Keenan Allen was lost for the season in game 1. So the next man up is WR Travis Benjamin, who caught 6 for 115 and 2 TDs. Benjamin appears to have the confidence of Rivers and I’d view him as a strong fantasy WR2. WR Tyrell Williams caught 3 for 61 yards and a TD. Williams is an underrated big play receiver. Consider him a solid WR3 with upside surprise potential. WR Dontrelle Inman is a decent receiver, but he will be very much hit or miss and until he produces with consistency, there’s no reason to own or start him.
TE: It’s hard to bench TE Antonio Gates, but he hasn’t done much through the first 2 games, and now he’s questionable to play this week. If he goes, Gates has potential, but I’d look elsewhere if you have a better option due to low production so far and his questionable injury status. If you do start him, keep a close eye on his game time status.
DEF: While the San Diego defense showed improvement in week 2, I’ll save us both some time and recommend that you avoid them until they demonstrate consistency. I’ve previously mentioned that I suspect that they are better than they’ve played, but “show me” and we’ll upgrade. Until then, seek a better option.
That’s my report for week 3. This should be a good game. Can the Bolts go 2-1, or will they return to their frustrating ways. Until my next report, Go Chargers!!!
NEW YORK GIANTS
The Giants win their home opener as they defeated the Saints 16-13. It was a complete turnaround from last year’s 52-49 shootout in New Orleans. It looks like the offseason investment in the defense has paid off as they are playing much better in all facets versus a year ago. Taking care of the “Duke” is critical as 3 lost fumbles would have put the game out of reach earlier.
QB Eli Manning continued his dominance against the Saints secondary as he completed 32 of 41 passes for 368 yards, 0 TD’s, 0 interceptions and a solid passer rating of 104.1. He was sacked twice.
Eli is facing a Redskins pass defense that is ranked 21st in the league. They have allowed 3 TD passes and an opposing passer rating of 108.6. They also have 5 sacks and 1 interception. Eli has had success against Washington in the past so expect 250 yards and 2 TD’s, making him a # 8-10 starter this week.
RB Rashad Jennings didn’t find much running room during the game as he had 13 carries for 27 yards. He also dinged up his wrist and thumb during the game. RB Shane Vereen had 14 carries for 42 yards and 3 catches for 24 yards.
The running game faces a Washington run defense ranked 27th in the league allowing 4.2 yards per carry and 124.5 yards per game. They have allowed a whopping 5 TD’s. Jennings will likely play but monitor his practice reps. If he is a full go, he is a decent flex play in larger leagues. Vereen will pick up whatever Jennings cannot do and also looks like a decent flex play but only in PPR leagues. Count on 5 receptions and a combined 65 yards.
WR Odell Beckham Jr had 8 receptions for 86 yards. WR Sterling Shepard was very solid with 8 grabs for 117 yards. Slot WR Victor Cruz had 4 catches for 91 yards as he continues his improbable comeback.
Expect Beckham Jr to be targeted often as he faces old friend CB Josh Norman. He should have 8 catches for 120 yards and a TD making him a top 5 receiver this week. Shepard makes an interesting flex play in PPR leagues as he should have 6-75 with a possible TD. Cruz will also chip in but is not worthy of fantasy consideration….yet.
TE Larry Donnell had 4 catches for 24 yards. TE Will Tye had 2 receptions for 10 yards.
Neither tight end is worthy of fantasy consideration at this time.
Two sacks with a blocked FG return for a touchdown is decent home fantasy production. They currently are ranked 4th against the run, 13th against the pass.
This defense has good fantasy potential but hasn’t shown it yet. I would keep them on the waiver wire. There might be upside later in the season.
PK Josh Brown had 3 FG’s and 1 extra point.
Brown is a top 12 kicker who should get opportunities.
That’s all for now and good luck in Week #3!
Lions report, week 3 preview
Lions at Packers
QB: It seems like QB Matthew Stafford is playing with a little extra heart and determination this year. He basically trucked a Titans defender on a scramble up the middle, and later was throwing a block on an Ameer Abdullah run. I don’t know how many fantasy points that will translate into, but it’s good for the highlights shows. Stafford looked to be hurt on a low hit that should have been flagged but wasn’t. He finished the game and is not on the injury report this week. He threw his first interception in over 210 pass attempts, and was also hurt by 7 or 8 dropped passes depending on who was counting. The Packers have been really tough against the run through two weeks, so Stafford will likely have his chances to move the ball through the air. Stafford was pretty solid in both games against Green Bay last year with 2 TD passes in each game, and that seems like a reasonable expectation for Sunday. It will be a different feel for a game in Green Bay as the forecast says temperatures will be in the 70s.
RB: It is tough to remember exactly which touchdowns counted and which got called back by penalties on Sunday but I think I have it straightened out. RB Ameer Abdullah had a nice 20 yard TD run called back and then unfortunately injured his foot later and did not return so a day that had nice fantasy point potential turned into a potential big problem as we heard on Monday he would head to a foot specialist in North Carolina for a second opinion. Well it turns out the news was not good as Abdullah had surgery and was placed on IR. Keep in mind that under the modified IR rules, Abdullah is eligible to return after 8 weeks but there is no guarantee that he will. It is safe to drop him in redraft leagues. What happens now that Abdullah is out? I feel like RB Theo Riddick can handle about half of the offensive snaps, with rookie RB Dwayne Washington getting about 25% and RB Zach Zenner the other 25%. Zenner has been inactive as Detroit has been rolling with 3 active running backs but he would clearly have a role going forward. I tend to agree with those saying Washington is worth a pickup in deep leagues because of his potential. The Lions also reportedly worked out RB Joique Bell but did not sign him at this time. Tennessee really seemed to key on Riddick and was able to limit his production but Riddick should be a lock for at least 15 touches on Sunday and is a nice #2 fantasy running back.
WR/TE: TE Eric Ebron had a TD called back on a bogus offensive pass interference call or else he would have 2 TDs in 2 weeks. WR Anquan Boldin scored on the ensuing play but that was also called back. Boldin did score one TD that counted after the Abdullah TD was called back. WR Marvin Jones had a strong game with 8 grabs for 118 yards, but WR Golden Tate had a poor game with just 2 catches on 9 targets. This could solidify Jones as Detrot’s top target moving forward, with Tate still having value. The TE Andrew Quarless experiment is over before it ever started. Quarless served his two game suspension and the Lions released him instead of adding him to the 53 man roster. The Lions filled Abdullah’s roster spot by signing WR Aaron Dobson so now they have 5 receivers on the 53 man. Ebron did not practice on Wednesday with a back injury but was upgraded to limited on Thursday so he should be OK.
K/DST: I mentioned in last week’s report that Delanie Walker would be a popular play last week given Detroit’s struggles against tight ends. Walker scored, so this trend is only getting stronger and drawing more attention. Detroit is decimated by injuries at linebacker so the trend is likely to continue. PK Matt Prater might still be having nightmares from last year’s game in Green Bay when he missed two extra points. There has been some growing speculation about Aaron Rodgers and why he is struggling. Which way will this go? He could continue to struggle, or more likely he will come out with a vengeance and pick apart an injury depleted Lions defense that probably won’t have either DE Ziggy Ansah or LB DeAndre Levy.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
Second game is the same as the first – with a different outcome. The sluggish offensive start continues. What follow is a review of the week 2 game and a preview of the week 3 game.
Review: On offense, QB Aaron Rodgers completed 20 passes on 36 attempts (55.6%) for 1 touchdown, 213 yards, and 1 interception – all for 70.7 passer rating. Rodgers also had 29 yards rushing for a total 242 total yards and added a rushing touchdown. The Packers also collected 87 pass interference yards in this game, but they don’t show up in fantasy statistics. WR Jordy Nelson was targeted 11 times and that resulted in 5 receptions for 73 yards and 1 touchdown. WR Randall Cobb was targeted 7 times and that resulted in 5 receptions for 42 yards and no touchdowns. WR Davante Adams was targeted 7 times and that resulted in 3 receptions for 26 yards and no touchdowns. RB Eddie Lacy was the primary Packer ball carrier and had 12 carries for 50 yards (4.2 y/c) – but no receptions or touchdowns. RB James Starks had 7 carries for 3 yards (0.43 y/c). He also had 1 reception for 16 yards for a total of 19 yards from scrimmage – but no touchdowns. TE Jared Cook was targeted 6 times and that resulted in 4 receptions for 31 yards. TE Richard Rodgers was targeted 2 times and that resulted in 2 receptions for 25 yards. The defensive front, (including DL & LBs) were good against the run and got some decent pressure. In fact the Packer defense is #1 in the NFL in run defense and held Viking RB Adrian Peterson to 1.6 yards per carry. The defensive backfield played poorly for a second straight week. Consequently, they gave up only 30 rushing yards and 268 passing yards, and 17 points. There were also 4 sacks, 9 tackles for loss, 10 quarterback pressures, 0 interceptions, 3 passes defended, and 1 forced fumble. It was all very similar to last week. It wasn’t the points so much as the failure to get off the field at critical times. CB Sam Shield did not play. S Morgan Burnett went out with injury as well. It will be interesting to see how they adjust for next week.
Preview: Next up for the Packers is the Detroit Lions at Lambeau. Maybe the Packer offense will get healthy against Detroit’s 26th ranked defense. I am sure the offense will have a good game at some point, but just when that happens is a mystery. I thought that with a healthy receiving corps and a healthy offensive line the offense would return to its high production normal. That hasn’t been the case so far. And maybe just getting back home will help too. QB Aaron Rodgers needs to settle down and be the efficient quarterback he was in 2014. He currently ranks 26th in passing yards, 13th in touchdowns, 31st in completion percentage, and 24th in passer rating. He has a lot of work to do. RB Eddie Lacy isn’t doing much better. He ranks 19th in yards and 30th in touchdowns. WR Jordy Nelson is ranked 18th in receptions, 47th in yards, and 4th in touchdowns. WR Randall Cobb is ranked 18th in receptions, 52nd in yards, and 47th in touchdowns. The tight ends did a little better this last week but still have a long way to go to be relevant. TE Jared Cook ranks 24th in receptions, 34th in yards, and 20th in touchdowns. TE Richard Rodgers ranks 36th in receptions, 28th in yards, and 20th in touchdowns. K Mason Crosby’s 11 points still ranks 21st in the NFL – but he has 100% field goal and extra point average. So the lack of opportunities was on display - again. The Packer 11th ranked defense is about the best thing they have. From a fantasy perspective in a 12 team league it is tough to make a case for any of the Packer players. So for the first tier this week I only have QB Aaron Rodgers and WR Jordy Nelson – because at least they are scoring some touchdowns. On the second tier is WR Randall Cobb, RB Eddie Lacy and the Packer defense. After that comes TE Jared Cook and PK Mason Crosby. Next week we will review week 3 and preview week 4 vs. the Giants.
This week the Falcons head to New Orleans to face the 0-2 Saints on Monday night. The New Orleans secondary is beat up so there should be points to had in this one.
QB Matt Ryan - Ryan is off to a very good fantasy start to the 2016 season and I would expect him to continue that trend this week. Look for 275 yards passing with two scores.
RB Devonta Freeman & RB Tevin Coleman - after two weeks it appears that the Falcons have morphed into the dreaded RBBC scenario.....last week, both players were productive and added value to fantasy squads. How long will that trend continue? Good luck trying to figure that out. For this week, depending on your scoring systems, both could be RB2 or a flex. Look for Freeman to get 70 yards rushing and 40 receiving with a score and for Coleman to end up 50 yards rushing and 25 yards receiving.
WR Julio Jones - this should be the week that he gets the team target lead back from TE Jacob Tamme. I'm looking for an 8 catch 130 yard with a touchdown kind of game for Julio. Yes he is a bit banged up, but when isn't he. It's Monday night, he'll be there.
WR Mohammed Sanu & WR Justin Hardy - roster worthy but I don't think you want to depend on them at this point.
TE Jacob Tamme & TE Austin Hooper - as I mentioned above, Tamme currently leads the team in targets. That should begin to end sooner rather than later, but in the meantime continue to ride the hot hand for 5 catches for 60 yards. As for Hooper, this is the week he gets in the end zone for a score.
PK Matt Bryant - 2 field goals and 3 extra points.
Defense - not a strong fantasy consideration and shouldn't be unless they start showing for big play ability.
As for this one, I think we will have our usual close Falcons-Saints game, Saints 28 Falcons 27.
I will be unavailable next week, so I won't see you all until after the Falcons-Panthers game in week 4.
Good luck everyone!
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
All games won’t be that easy. The Cardinals started fast and never let up on Tampa Bay and ended up with a 40-7 recovery game against Tampa Bay. The Cardinals improved their third down defense from allowing 10 of 16 to allowing 5 of 13 first downs on third down. The Cardinals created turnovers including 4 Interceptions of QB Jameis Winston. Both teams are now 1-1
Fantasy Stars of the Game:
RB Chris Johnson 16 for 54 yards 1 TD RB David Johnson 12 for 45 yards 3 rec 98 yards WR Larry Fitzgerald 5 for 77 yards 1 TD WR Jaron Brown 2 for 78 yards 1 TD QB Carson Palmer 17/30 for 304 yards 3 TD (WR Michael Floyd 8 yards 1 TD)
IDP: CB Marcus Cooper defensive star of the game with 2 INT and 1 for a TD. WR Michael Evans (Tampa) 6 catches 70 yards 1 TD
This week, the Cardinals face their historically worse performing dilemma: A road game to the east coast. The Cardinals take on the Buffalo Bills. The Bills are a desperate team and do not want to start out 0-3 this season. The Cardinals are still a bit desperate themselves. The Cardinals could have played better last game and have some improving to do. They may have found a legitimate Cornerback opposite of CB Patrick Peterson. CB Marcus Cooper is 6 2” long CB traded from Kansas City for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2018 draft for CB Marcus Cooper. A veritable bargain already paying off. CB Marcus Cooper and CB Brandon Williams will continue to swap the starting position opposite of CB Patrick Peterson.
QB: QB Carson Palmer was definitely “ON” this week after wearing the Sta-Puff Marshmallow Man costume having lost the “bucket” challenge last week. QB Carson Palmer was 17 of 30 for 304 yards and 3 TDs. I would like to see a higher percentage than 56% completion percentage, but you really can’t complain.
RB: RB David Johnson had some competition this week from RB Chris Johnson. RB David Johnson was the star in the receiving department out of the backfield. RB Chris Johnson was the star in the running game. If the Cardinals can get this type of production out of their running game for the remainder of the season, look out. PPR leagues, keep RB David Johnson in your lineup all season. RB Andre Ellington had 2 touches with limited success.
WR: Keep starting WR Larry Fitzgerald. WR Jaron Brown is an unknown commodity so stash him on your bench if you are smart. WR John Brown hasn’t gotten in sync with QB Carson Palmer yet. WR Michael Floyd has been open quite a bit and caught a TD but when you have a future HOF WR Larry Fitzgerald it is tough to get everyone the ball.
TE: TE Darren Fells had 4 catches for 31 yards. A nice outing, but nothing yet to show that he is worthy of a top 15 TE in the NFL. Find better options.
IDP: OLB Chandler Jones has 2 sacks on the season but as of now, no individual is really standing out.
K: Start PK Chandler Catanzaro. I think this is going to be a big year for him.
Prediction: The Cardinals travel to Buffalo and play in the early game on Sunday. Once again, the Cardinals need to start fast and make Buffalo think about what they are doing. I look for the Cardinals to win this game but not by much.
Prediction: Arizona 31 Buffalo 21. The Cardinals will control this game eventually but not early. The Bills need to start fast and continue to succeed early and often with confidence. The Cardinals need to get after QB Tyrod Taylor and stop their big play athletes from controlling this game. Arizona has more talent in this game and they all need to show up early Sunday morning for the win, otherwise, the Bills will have life in them and start believing they can beat the Cardinals, and that’s never good for the away team.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Until the Rams lost so bad to the 49ers, the game in LA was the one that I expected Seattle to lose in the first quarter of the season. The Rams took all their national TV embarrassment out on Seattle and managed 9 points. And that was enough to beat Seattle in LA.
QB - The offense for Seattle looked like there were no plays to call without a mobile QB Russell Wilson. It is not like it was an in-game injury. Seattle’s current achilles heel is teams that get pressure up the middle. For all that the Rams lack, they can do that much. RG J’Marcus Webb looks to be having all the same problems that RG Justin Britt had last year at that spot. While Britt at Center is looking like a whole new athlete. The left side of the line is sketchy too. Two shiny facts are that these guys will get better especially with RG Germain Ifedi returns which could even be this week and we play the 49ers this week. The 49ers defensive line is not even near the caliber of the lines Seattle has faced the prior two weeks. Even Webb should feel like he is getting a week against the Junior Varsity team.
Wilson had 35 attempts and managed just a slightly better game than he did the week previously. The fantasy points are hard to come by if you can’t manage to score. Seattle proved one thing last week, they will run the ball no matter what. That definitely impacts the hobbled Wilson, so I am putting his fantasy value down a peg this week and will look for around 15 points from him.
RB - RB Christine Michael has quietly become the 3rd leading rusher in the NFL and the leader in yards per carry. When RB Thomas Rawls has had his chances he has not managed Michael-like numbers. It would be best to have both of them if you have either as a fantasy owner, but for now Michael is the starter and will perform against the 49ers. His breakout week is long overdue. I am anticipating over 100 yards and 1-2 TDs against this defense. Rawls should not be started until he can manage a few more yards per carry than his current 1.3. Maybe he isn’t healed enough to make the right cuts or get the yards after contact like he could last year?
WR - Down went WR Doug Baldwin then down went WR Tyler Lockett leaving them with a combined 7 catches for 119 yards. They will both be recovered from injury and ready to go for this week making Baldwin a must start against the 49ers. Lockett still managing 99 yards last week says a good deal about him and he should be started as a WR3.
TE - TE Jimmy Graham is all the way back now and should be in Wilson’s sights at the goal line. I predict 50+ yards plus 1-2 scores from him this week.
K - PK Steven Hauschka scored all the points. All 3 of them. Whoop, whoop. I think he will have 7 points this week.
I thought that I did not like some of what I saw during the game last week. But after reflecting on it, the defense had just a couple of bad plays and were burned on them. In general they are performing above where they were last season at this point and LB Cassius Marsh is improving in his role. Still they have no turnovers in two games but holding the Rams to a 25% 3rd down efficiency should have been enough to win. San Fran’s defense is not going to keep the score down and will leave their offense in position to make mistakes.
LOS ANGELES RAMS
Welcome Home! After an embarrassing Monday night loss to the Niners, the Rams regroup to beat the Seattle Seahawks 9-3 in their first home game in Los Angeles in over two decades. The offense has yet to score a touchdown in the 2016 season, but thanks to a smothering defense, they are 1-1 and tied for first (and last) in the tough NFC West Division. The Rams are on the road in week three as they head to Tampa to take on the Buccaneers, who were trounced by the Cardinals in week two. Let’s take a look at statistics from the game and Fantasy advice for you in week three.
QB: QB Case Keenum (18-30 239 yards) bounced back from his bad debut and made just enough plays to lead the team to victory. Case was sacked three times; however, when he did have time to pass, his receivers came through with clutch catches. QB Jared Goff was the backup for this game but did not play. QB Sean Mannion was inactive. After two games, Tampa is ranked 27th against the pass allowing 318.5 yards a game. The Buccaneers have given up 5 touchdowns while recording 4 sacks and 0 interceptions. Week Three recommendation: Case and the Ram passing game improved in week two; however, it is still bad and Keenum is a low end QB3 at best.
RB: RB Todd Gurley (19-51 rushing and 1-19 receiving) had another quiet game as the Seahawks loaded the box to stop the Ram’s best offensive weapon. OC Rob Boras needs to get Todd more involved in the passing game as Todd is a good receiver out of the backfield and explosive with the ball in his hands. RB Bennie Cunningham (1-2 rushing and 1-7 receiving) got only a few touches relieving Gurley and fortunately had only two kickoff returns (both touchbacks). RB Malcom Brown did not carry the ball. Tampa is ranked 8th against the rush allowing only 76.5 yards per game. The Bucs have surrendered 1 rushing touchdown. Week Three recommendation: Todd will continue to see stacked fronts until the passing game gets going. Hopefully he makes a few big plays and catches more passes. He is still a RB1 in my book and I think he scores two touchdowns against Tampa Bay.
WR: WR Tavon Austin (5-50 receiving and 2-6 rushing) found some success on deeper routes, which was much better than week one. WR Kenny Britt (6-94) continued to play well and has been effective down the field. WR Brian Quick (1-8) had a quiet game, which has become the norm for him. WR Pharoh Cooper and WR Nelson Spruce were inactive again but both are practicing this week so they have a chance to play. Week Three recommendation: Austin and Britt should continue to lead this team in receptions and both should be considered high end WR3 against the Bucs.
TE: TE Lance Kendricks (4-61) had a nice game and has established himself as the Ram’s lead tight end. TE Tyler Higbee did not have any receptions and is learning the difference between college and professional football. TE Cory Harkey and TE Temarrick Hemingway are not part of the passing offense. Week Three recommendation: Kendricks could be a sleeper this week. I have a feeling that he scores the first touchdown of the season for the Rams.
K: PK Greg Zuerlein (3-3 field goals (39, 28, and 47 yards)) was money on all three of his attempts and will hopefully build from this game. Week Three recommendation: I benched Greg last week and he made me regret that move. He is back on my active roster and unless you have a top-end kicker, you can play him too.
DEF: The defense was superior in holding the Seahawks to three points. LB Alec Ogletree (8 solo and 1 assisted tackle, 1 forced fumble, and 1 fumble recovery) and LB Mark Barron (9 solo and 1 assisted tackle) were the leaders in tackles. DT Aaron Donald, (3 solo and 1 assisted tackle) might not have produced big stats but he was a disruptive force throughout the game which allowed his teammates to garner the tackles. DE Robert Quinn (1 solo and 1 assisted tackle, 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble) and DE William Hayes (1 solo and 4 assisted tackles and 1 sack) were also effective. The defense put pressure on Russell Wilson and held the Seahawk rushing game in check (67 net rushing yards). Tampa’s offense is ranked 18the in passing (251 yards per game) and 21st in rushing (87.5 yards per game). The Bucs have thrown 5 interceptions and allowed 3 sacks. Staring running back Doug Martin is out with a hamstring injury so hopefully the Rams can take advantage of this situation. Week Three recommendation: Tampa quarterback Jameis Winston was hot in week one and not in week two so hopefully the Rams can force more turnovers from him. Ogletree is a solid IDP and Donald and Quinn should also be productive this week. A sleeper to consider is Barron as he is working well with Ogletree and is on the field on all downs.
The Rams salvaged the beginning of their season with a hard fought defensive victory at home. Los Angeles will need that same type of defensive effort while improving their offense in Tampa this week to improve to 2-1. I think the offense puts gets rolling against the Bucs and scores three touchdowns with two field goals. My prediction is Rams 27 Buccaneers 17. The Rams won in week two but I lost to my rival Backside Attack so we are both 1-1. I am hoping we both get wins and improve to 2-1. Love and blessings to my family. Miss you Pops! Aloha!