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The Primer: Week 3 Edition (2022 Fantasy Football)

by Derek Brown | @dbro_ffb | Featured Writer
Sep 24, 2022
Fantasy Football Week 3 Start/Sit Advice

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Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Commanders

Pace and playcalling notes

  • This is another pace-up game. Washington is sixth in neutral pace, with the Eagles on their heels at ninth.
  • Washington again leads the way in passing volume in close games (13th), while Philadelphia takes a more run-centric approach (27th in neutral passing rate).

Quarterbacks

Jalen Hurts: Hurts is the QB3 in fantasy, as he’s taken a massive leap as a passer. He’s the highest graded passer per PFF, ranking first in yards per attempt and second in adjusted completion rate (minimum 20 dropbacks). Washington is another favorable matchup that lands him in the week’s top three fantasy quarterback options. Washington is relinquishing the 13th-highest success rate per dropback and eighth-highest passing touchdown rate. They are also only 15th in EPA per dropback and 14th in passer rating. Washington has blitzed at the fifth-highest rate. Hurts has also been stellar against pressure, with the second-highest PFF passing grade against pressure (minimum five pressured dropbacks) and ranking 12th in pressured adjusted completion rate.

Carson Wentz: Whether it’s smoke and mirrors or substance, it doesn’t matter. Wentz has been a pleasant surprise through two games. He’s the QB4 in fantasy, ranking first in deep ball attempts, second in passing yards, and top-ten in clean pocket accuracy and completion rate. The Eagles offer the stiffest test to his reemergence yet. They are fourth in pass defense DVOA allowing the fourth-lowest EPA per dropback and explosive pass rate. The Eagles are tenth in quarterback knockdown rate, but they have struggled to pressure the passer, ranking 26th in pressure rate. Wentz should have clean pockets behind a line that has allowed the seventh-lowest pressure rate. Wentz is on the low-end QB1/high-end QB2 borderline for Week 3.

Running Backs

Week 1

Player % of Rushing attempts Target share Route Run % Red zone opportunities
Miles Sanders 34.2% 6.9% 40.9% 3
Kenneth Gainwell 13.2% 13.8% 22.7% 3
Boston Scott 10.5% 0% 0% 1

Week 2

Player % of Rushing attempts Target share Route Run % Red zone opportunities
Miles Sanders 50% 9.7% 36.8% 0
Kenneth Gainwell 5.9% 6.5% 31.6% 0
Boston Scott 11.8% 3.2% 26.3% 0

 

Miles Sanders: Sanders is the RB13 in fantasy after averaging 17.5 touches and 95.5 total yards after two games. He’s led the team in rushing share and route run rate in each game, although the route rate was diluted out to three players in Week 2. He’s 16th in opportunity share and 18th in weight opportunities among running backs. With minimal pass game involvement (8.3% target share, 31st), his production and source of fantasy value is on the ground. This looks like another plus-matchup for Sanders as a solid RB2. Washington has the sixth-highest rush EPA and 13th-highest explosive run rate allowed. They are 28th or worse in adjusted line yards, second-level yards, and open field yards allowed. Sanders is running behind an offensive line that is top-nine in each of those metrics.

Kenneth Gainwell: Gainwell isn’t anything more than an upside stash or dart throw flex. He’s only averaged five touches and 25 total yards per game. His 26.2% snap share and 22.8% opportunity share are too low to take a chance on in lineups.

Boston Scott: Scott is barely rosterable, even in deep leagues. He’s the third man up in this backfield with only a 21.3% snap share and 15.8% opportunity share. Without an injury, he’s a zero in fantasy waiting to happen.

Week 1

Player % of Rushing attempts Target share Route Run % Red zone opportunities
Antonio Gibson 56% 19% 48.9% 1
J.D. McKissic 12% 9.5% 36.2% 0

Week 2

Player % of Rushing attempts Target share Route Run % Red zone opportunities
Antonio Gibson 66.7% 8.7% 36.4% 5
J.D. McKissic 14.3% 15.2% 38.2% 0

 

Antonio Gibson: Gibson has been the early down hammer in Weeks 1 and 2 with at least 56% of the rushing work. He did see his lead on routes dwindle with a healthier McKissic in Week 2. This pushes Gibson into RB2 territory, as we can’t definitively say that this trend doesn’t continue or worsen in Week 3. Gibson has averaged 18.5 touches and 85.5 total yards this season. The good thing for Gibson is that he’s hogged all of the red zone work. The Washington offensive line isn’t great, ranking no higher than 17th in any line yard metric, but they are good enough to open holes for Gibson against the Eagles. Philadelphia ranks 27th or lower in adjusted line yards, second-level yards, and open field yards. They have allowed the fourth-highest rushing success rate, highest rush EPA, and ninth-highest explosive run rate. Gibson has been a league-average (to below-average) rusher, ranking 37th in yards after contact per attempt (out of 51 running back with at least ten carries) and 24th in PFF’s elusive rating.

J.D. McKissic: With his route and target share bump in Week 2, McKissic is a low-end flex in PPR leagues. The Eagles are ninth in DVOA against receiving backs allowing the 12th-most receptions but holding running backs to the 13th-fewest receiving yards. If McKIssic racks up empty receptions in catchup mode or garbage time, he could finish with a decent week in PPR, but outside of that, he isn’t playing enough snaps and doesn’t have any touchdown equity.

Wide Receivers

A.J. Brown: Brown clocks in as the WR15 in fantasy, with elite efficiency metrics littering his profile. He’s second in target share, 14th in target per route run rate, and fifth in yards per route run. He will destroy Kendall Fuller and William Jackson on nearly 73% of his routes this week. Fuller and Jackson have combined to allow a 66.7% catch rate, 138 passer rating, and two touchdowns (21 targets). Brown is a top-five fantasy wide receiver this week.

DeVonta Smith: Smith showed some life in Week 2 after flopping in the season’s first game. He saw a 22.6% target share with 19.5% of the air yards. Brown still hogged the air yards with a 38.7% share against the Vikings. Smith also turned in 2.11 yards per route run. With Brown still the unquestioned alpha of this receiver room, Smith is a volatile WR3/WR4 who will run about 74% of his routes against Fuller and Jackson.

Quez Watkins: Despite the monstrous long touchdown in Week 2, Watkins isn’t playable. He’s seen two targets all year. He’s the clear sixth option in this passing attack.

Terry McLaurin: McLaurin falls into WR3 territory. The matchup is brutal this week, and his usage thus far hasn’t been in line with a consistent WR2 threat. He’s only seen a 14.1% target share (63rd) and a 13.6% target per route run rate (84th). His talent is still present, but his numbers haven’t reflected it, and it’s doubtful that happens in Week 3, running about 81% of his routes against Darius Slay and James Bradberry. Slay has been electric, allowing only a 29.4% catch rate and 25.2 passer rating. Bradberry, in this zone-heavy scheme, has been an All-Pro with only a 36.4% catch rate and 7.0 passer rating yielded.

Jahan Dotson: Dotson has been amazing thus far. His route running and catch radius have been fun to watch. He’s the WR17 in fantasy on the strength of three receiving scores. He’s averaged five targets, 3.5 receptions, and 49.5 receiving yards. With his 15.4 aDOT and four deep targets, he’s operated as the team’s deep threat. With only an 11.8% target share and nearly 72% of his routes against Slay and Bradberry, he’s a WR4.

Curtis Samuel: Dollar store Deebo is the WR9 in fantasy. With his 23.5% target share (26th) and 25.3% target per route rate (36th), he’s been a favorite of Wentz. He’s also seen five carries turning them into 38 yards on the ground. Samuel has also seen a deep target, and two red zone looks. His variable role gives him the highest weekly floor of any wide receiver on this roster. In the slot, he’ll run about 67% of his routes against Avonte Maddox. Maddox has allowed an 83.3% catch rate but held receivers to a 67.7 passer rating when targeted. Samuel is also a WR3 this week.

Tight Ends

Dallas Goedert: I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating. Dallas Goedert would be discussed in the same breath as Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews if he received the same volume. He’s 14th in target share and 26th in targets per route run, but he’s fourth in yards per route run and first in YAC. Pick nearly any efficiency metric for the tight end position, and you’ll find Goedert hovering around the top of the list. Washington was eighth in DVOA against the position last year (25th in 2022), but they allowed the ninth-most receiving yards to tight ends. Goedert is a mid TE1.

Logan Thomas: Logan Thomas is a low-end TE1. Thomas is the TE10 in fantasy scoring with a 12.9% target share (19th) and 19.6% target per route rate. If Wentz wants to avoid the Eagles’ sizzling corners in Week 3, he should look to pepper Thomas with targets. Thomas is 13th in yards per route run while also seeing a pair of red zone and deep targets. Philly has allowed the sixth-most reception to tight ends while ranking 12th in receiving yards.

New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers

Pace and playcalling notes

  • Each of these offenses has been sputtering, but the upside for play volume and passing attempts exists in this game.
  • Carolina is blazing a trail, ranking first in neutral pace, while New Orleans is 11th. The Panthers are also seventh in neutral passing rate while the Saints have reached 14th with their restocked wide receiver depth chart.

Quarterbacks

Jameis Winston: Winston is the QB16 in fantasy, and that’s about where he should be valued this week as a mid-QB2. With a healthy secondary, the Panthers’ pass defense has been scary. They are 12th in pass defense DVOA allowing the second-lowest success rate and ninth-lowest EPA per dropback. Winston has been strong this year under pressure ranking ninth and third in completion rate and accuracy when under duress. This matters because Carolina is 12th in hurray rate.

Baker Mayfield: Mayfield is another yawn-provoking QB2 option. Mayfield has been tough to watch to this point. He ranks 21st of lower in completion rate when pressured, on play-action throws, in the red zone, and from a clean pocket. He’s the QB16 in fantasy with that flukey rushing touchdown in Week 1 still helping his numbers. The Saints’ defense has been solid, but they could come alive this week. New Orleans is already holding opponents to the third-lowest explosive pass rate, sixth-fewest yards per attempt, and third-lowest passing touchdown rate. They have been a better real-life defense than in fantasy as they have struggled to create a pass rush, ranking dead last in pressure rate. Mayfield’s line has done a good job keeping him upright, as he’s seen the 13th-lowest pressure rate.

Running Backs

Alvin Kamara: Kamara has been listed as questionable. Reports sound as if he’ll play. If he does, he’s a low-end RB2. In Week 1, his usage wasn’t encouraging. He played 62% of the snaps with 12 touches and 46 total yards. He saw 45% of the team’s rushing attempts with a 12.1% target share. The biggest issue for Kamara is his 43.6% route run rate. That is incredibly low for him and caps his ceiling. We could easily see the team utilize Ingram and Jones in tandem with Kamara this week. Carolina has been tough against pass-catching backs ranking 14th and 10th in DVOA over the last two seasons. They are 17th in rush success rate with the 11th highest EPA allowed.

Mark Ingram: Last week, with Ingram drawing the start at less than 100%, he handled 50% of the team’s rushing attempts, with a 5% target share and 19.1% of the routes run. Tony Jones factored in leading the team with 48.9% of the routes run. If Kamara is out, then theoretically, Ingram would draw the start again, but since he is banged up too we need to monitor news for both. Ingram played 40.6% of the snaps with 12 touches and 63 total yards as the RB40. He handled the only red zone carry and split high value touches with Jones.

Christian McCaffrey: Last week, McCaffrey’s snaps climbed up to 91% as he ripped off 102 yards on the ground. He’s averaged 16.5 touches and 92.5 total yards. He’s handled 61% of the team’s carries, seeing an 18.9% target share with a 70.6% route run rate. His offensive line has been pitiful to this point, ranking 18th or lower in every line yard metric I value. McCaffrey remains an RB1 with his workload, but the matchup is no bueno. New Orleans has given up the 11th-lowest run success rate and second-lowest rush EPA, and they rank 12th and seventh in adjusted line yards and open field yards allowed.

Wide Receivers

Michael Thomas: Thomas’s return to this point has been magnificent. He’s the WR10 in fantasy averaging 8.5 targets, 5.5 receptions, 61.5 receiving yards, and 1.5 receiving scores per game. He has a 23.5% target share with 23.1% of the team’s air yards. His yards per route run has been solid (but not spectacular) at 1.72. The most impressive part of what he’s done is that he’s done so against top secondaries with the likes of Carlton Davis, Jamel Dean, Casey Hayward, and A.J. Terrell. Thomas will run about 80% of his routes against Jaycee Horn and Donte Jackson (listed as questionable but practiced on a limited basis all week and in full Friday). Horn has allowed a 62.5% catch rate and 72.4 passer rating. Jackson has allowed a 55.6% catch rate and 64.1 passer rating in coverage. Thomas is a WR2.

Jarvis Landry: Landry is the WR35 in fantasy, and that’s how he should be viewed in Week 3 as a WR3/WR4 type. Landry has seen an average of seven targets producing 5.5 receptions and 69.5 receiving yards per game. Landry has a 19.7% target share with a nice 2.04 yards per route run. He’ll run about 77% of his routes from the slot this week against Myles Hartsfield, who has given up a 72.2% catch rate and 112.4 passer rating in his career. Landry draws the easiest corner matchup in this game, assuming Jackson plays. He could lead the team in targets this week.

Chris Olave: Olave has garnered a 22.5% target share as the team’s field stretcher. He is third among wide receivers in aDOT (20.1), first in deep targets (seven), and ninth in air yard share. The Panthers are 15th in DVOA against deep passing allowing the fifth-lowest explosive pass rate. Olave will run about 73% of his routes on the perimeter against Horn and Jackson.

D.J. Moore: At some point, we have to take a peek at Moore and downgrade him related to the poor quarterback play he must suffer through. That point is Week 3. Moore is a WR3 this week. He’s the WR42 in fantasy scoring with a 23.1% target share and a 21.1% target per route rate. None of these numbers are a reflection of his talent, but the reality is that even amazing receivers can be held back by idiotic coaching and Great Value brand quarterbacking. Moore will run about 80% of his routes against Bradley Roby and Marshon Lattimore. Each corner has started the season off hot. Roby has found the fountain of youth, allowing a 53.3% catch rate and 69.6 passer rating. Lattimore has given up a 50% catch rate and 59.7 passer rating.

Robbie Anderson: The Anderson renaissance lasted only one week as he face-planted as the WR81 last week. Anderson’s 25.0% target share and 23.2% target per route rate are related to the Panthers’ lack of receiving weapons and not his current ability. Anderson’s efficiency numbers suggested he was cooked last year, and outside of one long touchdown, that looks to be the case in 2022. Anderson is a WR4/5 type that likely ends in max pain this week.

Tight Ends

Juwan Johnson: Johnson’s usage remains strong, although his fantasy success hasn’t hit yet. He’s the TE19 in fantasy points per game, commanding a 16.9% target share (13th) and a 79.7% route participation (11th). He has seen one deep target and two red zone targets. He’s been efficient with his routes ranking 14th in yards per route run. The Panthers were ninth in DVOA against the position last year. Johnson is in play as a deep streamer, but there are better options to stream.

CAR Tight Ends: Repeat after me. “We do not play JAG tight ends against the Saints.” New Orleans has been second, sixth, and fourth in DVOA against tight ends over the last three years. Playing a Carolina tight end is asking to cry into your pillow by Sunday night.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Pace and playcalling notes

  • You could be disappointed if you’re expecting either team to blaze a trail on the field or through the air. The Chargers have run slow in the early going, ranking 18th in neutral pace. Jacksonville isn’t far behind at 20th.
  • Despite each team getting the rep as a pass-happy affair, the Jaguars are 17th in neutral passing rate while, even more surprisingly, the Bolts are 19th.

Quarterbacks

Trevor Lawrence: Lawrence faces a talented defense that’s still finding its footing. Los Angeles is eighth in pass defense DVOA, but they have also allowed the 12th-highest yards per attempt and passing touchdown rate. In his first game back, J.C. Jackson looked rusty, so while he’s an upgrade, we still have to understand he’s possibly not 100% right now. Lawrence has shown big improvements this year, ranking tenth in adjusted yards per attempt and ninth in true completion rate. Lawrence displayed some top 12 upside last week, finishing as the QB12. Start him confidently as a QB2 with upside.

Justin Herbert: We’ll see if Herbert can gut it out and play this week. He’s been listed as day-to-day, so it’s up in the air, but we’ll treat it as if he’s playing right now. Herbert has been his usual exemplary self. He’s the QB7 in fantasy points per game as the ninth-highest graded passer per PFF (minimum 20 dropbacks) with the fourth-highest adjusted completion rate and seventh-highest yards per attempt. This Jaguars’ pass defense is closer to the one that gave up 313 passing yards and four passing touchdowns to Carson Wentz than the one that crushed a weapon-less Matt Ryan like a grape. Jacksonville is 14th in yards per attempt and 13th in passing touchdown rate allowed. They are eighth in blitz rate, which won’t go well against Herbert, the ninth-highest graded passer per PFF against pressure. If Herbert plays, you play him.

Update: Chase Daniel could make the start this week for the injured Herbert. Daniel took all of the first team reps on Friday. I don’t want to rule out Herbert gutting it out, but I doubt he plays this week. Make sure you have another option ready to go in his place. If Daniel starts, consider every option in this offense downgraded outside of Ekeler for some added checkdown volume.

Running Backs

Week 1

Player % of Rushing attempts Target share Route Run % Red zone opportunities
James Robinson 61.1% 5.1% 33.3% 3
Travis Etienne 22.2% 10.3% 48.9% 3

Week 2

Player % of Rushing attempts Target share Route Run % Red zone opportunities
James Robinson 63.9% 6.7% 53.3% 3
Travis Etienne 25% 10% 46.7% 1

 

James Robinson: After surprising the fantasy community with his play in Week 1, Robinson followed it up by earning more work in Week 2. While Etienne saw a higher target share in Week 2, Robinson easily held the upper hand in rushing %, route run %, and red zone work. Robinson has averaged 18.5 touches and 73.5 total yards as the RB7 in fantasy points per game. He’s been productive, but his efficiency metrics display a player still working back into form as he’s 23rd in yards after contact per attempt and 27th in PFF’s elusive rating (minimum ten carries). It’s an average matchup for Robinson against a Bolts’ run defense that’s 16th in run success rate, 14th in rush EPA, and allowing the fourth-lowest explosive run rate. Robinson is a low-end RB2/high-end RB3.

Travis Etienne: Etienne is an RB3 with explosive upside. He’s only averaged nine touches and 59 total yards per game, but the ability for me is there every week. He’s a home run waiting to happen, ranking seventh in yards created per touch and fourth in yards per touch. He’s seen a 10.3% target share and now takes on a Chargers’ defense ranked 31st in DVOA against receiving backs. They have allowed the 12th most receptions, 11th-most receiving yards, and are tied for the most receiving touchdowns to running backs.

Austin Ekeler: It’s not time to press the panic button with Ekeler, but this isn’t the unquestioned top-five fantasy option we saw last year. Ekeler is averaging 20.5 touches and 83 total yards per game, but he’s RB14 on volume because he hasn’t scored a touchdown yet, and his red zone work is in question. He’s 15th in % of the team’s rushing carries (minimum ten carries) and has taken a backseat in the red zone. Sony Michel has seen 42.9% of the team’s red zone carries, with Ekeler only grabbing 28.6%. His passing game role is keeping him afloat as he’s fourth in target share (18.4%) among running backs while ranking first in receiving yards and receptions. The Jaguars have reprised their run defense prowess that we saw in spurts last year. They have allowed the lowest rush success rate, eighth-lowest rush EPA, and 14th-lowest explosive run rate. They are also 14th in DVOA against receiving backs after ranking second-best last season. This is a stout matchup for Ekeler, so temper expectations.

Wide Receivers

Christian Kirk: We all laughed at the money the Jaguars gave Kirk in the offseason. Who is laughing now? Kirk has received elite-level usage through two games and responded as the WR8 in fantasy points per game. He’s 19th in target share, seventh in receiving yards, eighth in yards after the catch, and 14th in yards per route run. He’s averaging nine targets, six receptions, and 97.5 receiving yards. He’ll see Bryce Callahan on nearly 81% of his routes. Callahan has started off hot with a 37.5% catch rate and a 6.3 passer rating allowed. It’s only two games, so we must be reminded that Callahan allowed a 64.9% catch rate and 97.4 passer rating last year. Kirk is a strong WR2.

Zay Jones: Jones is a WR5/6, aka flex play this week. He’s seen a 19.1% target share with three red zone targets and zero deep work (7.8 aDOT). He’ll run 61% of his routes against J.C Jackson, and Asante Samuel Jr. Jackson has only played one game. Last year, he was a lockdown corner allowing a 52.4% catch rate and 52.4 passer rating. Samuel has been exploitable this year, giving up a 66.7% catch rate and 82.6 passer rating, which looks better than it is because he has one interception.

Update: J.C. Jackson has been listed as doubtful. If Jackson is out which is what I’m projecting then Samuel and Michael Davis would cover the perimeter. Davis has allowed a 66.7% catch rate and 109.0 passer rating this season. Last year he gave up a 55.0% catch rate and 97.4 passer rating.

Marvin Jones: If you’re picking a Jones to play, roll with Zay, not Marvin. Marvin Jones has been regulated to a field stretching role with his 16.2% target share, 15.3 aDOT (13th), and zero red zone targets. His 1.09 yards per route run suggests he’s closer to the retirement line than your starting lineup.

Mike Williams: After one dud and one blowup game, Williams is the WR26 in fantasy points per game. It seems like the retirement party planned after one game was premature. Williams handled a 21.7% target share in Week 2, finishing with ten targets, eight grabs, and 113 receiving yards (1 TD) as the WR8. Williams’ 2.35 yards per route run in that game prove the talent and upside are still present. He’ll run about 85% of his routes against Shaquill Griffin and Tyson Campbell. Griffin has allowed a 57.1% catch rate and a 117.9 passer rating. Campbell has given up a 66.7% catch rate and 93.1 passer rating. Williams is a WR2 if Allen is a full-go and a WR2 if he remains out.

Keenan Allen: Allen was limited all week and then was a DNP on Friday. He wasn’t even participating in individual drills on Friday. I would be shocked if he played this week.

Josh Palmer: Palmer’s outlook will change depending on Allen’s availability. He saw a 17.4% target share without Allen last week. He needed the touchdown to save his fantasy day because his 0.61 yards per route run and 30 receiving yards wouldn’t carry anyone to the fantasy promise land. Palmer will run about 63% of his routes against Griffin and Campbell. Palmer is a WR4. If Allen is out, he’s likely still a WR4, but he moves into the higher end of that tier.

Tight Ends

Evan Engram: Evan Engram is a top 12 fantasy tight end currently (TE12). Engram is the poster child for the importance of volume and routes regarding tight ends. He’s 12th in targets, tenth in target share, and 11th in routes run. These factors overshadow that he’s 16th in yards per route run and only 32nd in yards per reception. Engram can continue his top 12 ways this week against a pliable Chargers secondary. They are 18th in DVOA against the position after finishing 23rd last season. The Bolts are sixth in receptions and fifth in receiving yards allowed to tight ends. Engram is a top 15 option at tight end this week.

Gerald Everett: Everett was a draft season darling of mine who is putting up solid numbers. He’s the TE4 in fantasy points per game with an 18.4% target share (seventh-best). He’s seventh in yards per route run and second in YAC. He has a tough but not insurmountable matchup this week. The Jaguars are tenth in DVOA this year against tight ends after holding the position to the ninth-fewest receiving touchdowns last year.

Green Bay Packers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Pace and playcalling notes

  • This game has all the trappings to disappoint. The Buccaneers have slowed down this year, ranking 22nd in neutral pace, while the Packers are known cheese-filled pace anchors in neutral script (29th).
  • With a lack of or battered receiving weapons, each team has switched to run-heavy approaches as Green Bay is eighth in neutral rushing rate, followed by Tampa Bay at 13th.

Quarterbacks

Aaron Rodgers: Rodgers’ level of play hasn’t matched his fantasy output, and that’s likely the case again in Week 3. Rodgers is the fifth-highest graded passer per PFF while also ranking sixth in adjusted completion rate and ninth in yards per attempt. He has QB32 and QB17 finishes to show for that proficiency. The Buccaneers are also nightmare fuel for opposing quarterbacks. They have surrendered the lowest success rate and EPA per dropback. They have given up the second-fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. Rodgers will be running for his life against a pass rush that’s ninth in pressure and blitz rates. Rodgers is a QB2.

Tom Brady: Brady is in the same boat as Rodgers. Mike Evans is out this week. The rest of his receiver depth chart is battered. The team has leaned more on the run rendering Brady as the QB26 and QB28 through two games. Brady is the third-highest graded passer per PFF and ranks first in big-time throw rate (minimum 20 dropbacks). When they’re on their game, the Packers are a defense not to be trifled with. They have permitted the third-lowest pass success rate and 11th-lowest EPA per dropback. The same defensive unit also ranks fifth in yards per attempt and tenth in passer rating. See the on-paper rollercoaster that is the Green Bay defense. The Packers can also get after the passer, ranking second in pressure rate. Expect Brady and Todd Bowles to play conservatively and lean on their ground game again. Brady is also a QB2.

Running Backs

Weeks 1-2

Player % of Rushing attempts Target share Route Run % Red zone opportunities
Aaron Jones 37% 13.3% 64.8% 5
A.J. Dillon 51.9% 15% 43.7% 6

 

Aaron Jones: Jones remains an explosive playmaker capable of maximizing his opportunities. He’s averaged 13 touches with 123 total yards currently as the RB5 in fantasy points per game. He’s second in yards created per touch, 11th in yards per route run, and first in breakaway runs. His 13.3% target share (13th among running backs) will come in handy this week. While Dillon has the slight lead on Jones in target share, Jones has the overwhelming edge on route run rate. It’s only a matter of time before that recalibrates. Despite ranking fifth in open field yards and 11th in explosive run rate allowed, the Buccaneers are a plus matchup for running backs. They are 27th and 24th in adjusted line yards and second-level yards allowed. They have the third-highest success rate allowed. Last year they were 22nd in DVOA against pass-catching backs seeing the second-most targets while yielding the second-most receptions and fifth-most receiving yards. Jones is a top-ten running back.

A.J. Dillon: Dillon is a top 20 running back play this week. He’s averaged 17 touches and 79 total yards. His 15.0% target share is seventh among running backs. Dillon hasn’t been as efficient as a rusher, ranking 26th in yards created and 32nd in juke rate, but he’s been an excellent receiver sitting at fifth in yards per route run.

Leonard Fournette: Uncle Len has returned as a volume behemoth for Tampa Bay. He’s averaged 24.5 touches and 105.5 total yards. He’s third in snap share, fourth in opportunity share, and sixth in weighted opportunity among running backs. He’s been a fantasy point-scoring bowling ball, ranking first in evaded tackles, 12th in yards created, and seventh in breakaway runs. The Packers are the dream matchup for running backs. Green Bay is seventh in rushing success rate, EPA, and has allowed the highest explosive run rate in the NFL. Fournette is a top-five running back this week.

Update: Fournette has been listed as questionable. He practiced on a limited basis all week. Beat reporters expect him to handle his usual workload this week.

Wide Receivers

Allen Lazard: Assuming he is playing again this week, Lazard is currently the only startable Packers wide receiver. Lazard immediately came back and logged an 89.7% route run rate. Only Sammy Watkins logged above a 50% mark (62.1%) outside of Lazard. Lazard only saw a 12% target share, but that’s sure to climb. Lazard is a WR4 this week, with the difficult matchup running about 70% of his routes against Carlton Davis and Jamel Dean. Davis has allowed a 54.5% catch rate and 94.3 passer rating. Dean has given up a 46.2% catch rate and 13.5 passer rating.

Update: Lazard doesn’t carry an injury designation into this game. Consider him a full go. Sammy Watkins has been ruled out and Christian Watson has been listed as questionable. The team has stated that Romeo Doubs should be a bigger part of the offense this week, but matching up with Dean and Davis won’t be easy. Unless you’re in a deep league pinch there’s not way I’m counting on Doubs to win against these corners in Week 3.

Mike Evans: Evans is out due to his one-game suspension.

Julio Jones: Jones (knee) had DNPs on Wednesday and Thursday before a limited practice on Friday. He’s been listed as questionable and is a game-time call. He played 52% of snaps in Week 1 with five targets and 69 receiving yards. Jones is a risky bet to make that could be a limited snap play even if active. I’d sit him and look for other options.

Chris Godwin: Godwin has been ruled out.

Russell Gage: Gage handled an 18.2% target share tying for the team lead in routes run. He operated from the slot on 62.5% of his snaps. He was 13th in yards per route run last year and 12th in route win rate. He’ll see new slot corner Rasul Douglas who has allowed all four of his targets in coverage to be secured this season. Douglas was scary last year allowing just a 51.5% catch rate and 46.3 passer rating.

Update: Gage didn’t practice on Friday, but I still expect him to play this weekend.

Scotty Miller: Last week as he was pushed to the forefront he saw a 24.2% target share and 44.8% of the team’s air yards. He only logged a 54.3% route run rate. Miller returns to the bench depending on the rest of the health of this wide receiver room.

Breshad Perriman: Perriman is also dealing with knee injury, so add him to the Friday update crew. Last week he saw a 15.2% target share with a 77.1% route run rate and 1.67 yards per route run.

Tight Ends

Robert Tonyan: Tonyan is still just a bit player. His 38.6% snap share and 46.9% route participation are too low to consider him in fantasy.

Cameron Brate: Brate hasn’t played more than 66% of snaps in any game. He’s maxed out at three targets as the TE44 in Week 1. Don’t play Brate.

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