Washington Commanders vs. Denver Broncos
- DEN -3.5, O/U 39
- Commanders vs. Broncos Player Prop Bets via BettingPros
Pace and playcalling notes
- The Commanders were 12th in neutral pace and 16th in neutral passing rate in Week 1.
- True to form, Sean Payton conducted a slow but pass-heavy offense last week. Denver had the fourth-lowest neutral pace while ranking tenth in neutral passing rate.
Sam Howell: Howell was the QB11 in fantasy in Week 1. He ranked 18th in passing grade and 13th in yards per attempt and adjusted completion rate. Howell faces a Broncos pass defense that surrendered the sixth-highest yards per attempt and 11th-highest adjusted completion rate in Week 1. Howell should have all day to dissect this defense against a pass rush that was 32nd in pressure rate in Week 1. Howell is a QB2 with QB1 upside.
Russell Wilson: Wilson still looks broken. We’ll see if Sean Payton can mend Mr. Unlimited as the season rolls along, but Week 1 wasn’t pretty. Wilson had the eighth-lowest yards per attempt and fourth-lowest aDOT as he dinked and dunked to the fourth-highest adjusted completion rate. Wilson is a QB2 staring down a Commanders defense that allowed the fifth-lowest yards per attempt in Week 1 while also dialing up the seventh-highest pressure rate.
|Player||Rushing attempts||Targets||Routes||RZ opportunities|
Brian Robinson: Robinson was the Commanders’ plodding workhorse in Week 1. He played 61% of the snaps, rolling up 20 touches and 63 total yards. Among 55 qualifying running backs, Robinson ranks 42nd in yards after contact per attempt and 36th in elusive rating. He’s the definition of JAG. In Week 1, 57% of Robinson’s carries came on gap run plays. Denver held opposing running backs in check in Week 1 with the third-highest stuff rate and eighth-lowest yards after contact per attempt. Denver held backs to the fifth-lowest yards per carry on gap runs. Robinson is an RB3.
Antonio Gibson: Gibson’s playing has to creep up to consider plugging him into a fantasy lineup. He played only 35% of the snaps in Week 1, with four touches totaling 19 yards. An easy player to sit.
|Player||Rushing attempts||Targets||Routes||RZ opportunities|
Javonte Williams: In his first game post-injury, Williams played 45% of the snaps with 17 touches and 57 total yards. He managed to out-target Perine, but the veteran back had the edge in routes run. Williams ranks 16th in yards after contact per attempt and 31st in elusive rating. Washington ranks 15th in yards after contact per attempt allowed with the ninth-lowest missed tackles allowed rate. Williams will have to do most of his damage on the ground, as Washington allowed the third-lowest receiving yards and 11th-lowest yards per reception to running backs last year. Williams is an RB2/3.
Samaje Perine: Perine was on the field for 45% of the snaps in Week 1, stealing 12 touches as he turned them into 78 total yards. Perine ranks 12th in yards after contact per attempt and fifth in elusive rating. The veteran back is a bulldozer. In Week 1, 75% of Perine’s runs were on gap plays. Washington permitted the tenth-lowest yards per carry to gap runs. Perine is an RB3.
Terry McLaurin: In Week 1, Patrick Surtain (59.4% catch rate and 84.0 passer rating allowed in 2022) followed Davante Adams on 66% of his routes, limiting him to only two receptions and 11 receiving yards. This could easily be how McLaurin’s Week 2 unfolds. In Week 1, McLaurin had a 20.8% target share, a 34.7% air yard share, and a 26.4% first-read share (leads all pass catchers). McLaurin is a WR3 that could fail in Week 2.
Jahan Dotson: If Surtain follows McLaurin, it’s Dotson to the moon week! Dotson will get shadow coverage from Damarri Mathis, who tailed Jakobi Meyers in Week 1 (70% of routes), allowing seven grabs, 68 receiving yards, and two scores. Dotson garnered a 14.7% target share, a 27.1% air yard share, and a 17.6% first-read share. Dotson should cook Mathis (70.8% catch rate and 96.7 passer rating allowed in 2022). Dotson is a strong WR3 with WR2 upside.
Curtis Samuel: Samuel saw a 15.9% target share running about 71% of his routes from the slot. He also managed a 14.4% air yard share and 20.2% first-read share (second on the team). Samuel is an afterthought WR4/5 that will see Essang Bassey (76.4% catch rate and 96.9 passer rating in his career) in coverage all day.
Courtland Sutton: Sutton secured a touchdown in Week 1, which saved his day, but the rest of his metrics were concerning. As Wilson spread the ball around, Sutton only had a 17.6% first-read share. Sutton could only draw a 14.7% target share and 33.3% air yard share while manufacturing 1.14 yards per route run. None of these figures are promising, especially with Jerry Jeudy sidelined. Sutton should be the target hog. He may be washed. Sutton is a WR4 who will run about 80% of his routes against Kendall Fuller and Emmanuel Forbes, who combined to allow a 50% catch rate and 52 receiving yards in Week 1.
Broncos Friday: TE Greg Dulcich (hamstring), OLB Frank Clark (hip) haven't practiced all week — officially ruled OUT.
WR Jerry Jeudy (hamstring) on track to play, practiced full all week. Asked if Jeudy will be on pitch count, Sean Payton said: "No, he's healthy, he's good.''
— Jeff Legwold (@Jeff_Legwold) September 15, 2023
Jerry Jeudy: Jeudy has been working his way back from a hamstring injury. He was limited in practice on Wednesday before getting in full sessions on Thursday and Friday. Sean Payton says he’ll be a full go. While I question how much I can trust Payton, I’ll take him for his word here. Last year, Jeudy commanded a 20.8% target share and a 25.4% air yard share. He was 12th in deep targets and 11th in open score among wide receivers. In Week 1, the Commanders were seventh in dropbacks defended in man coverage. Why does this matter? Last year, Jeudy was ninth in receiving grade against man coverage and first in yards per route run against man coverage. Jeudy will run about half of his routes against Fuller and Forbes. Jeudy is a high-end WR2.
Marvin Mims: The Broncos’ talented second-round pick is a stash only at this point. Payton is making the rookie earn his playing time, as he only had a 21.6% route run per team dropback rate in Week 1.
Logan Thomas: Thomas is a streamer-worthy TE2 this week. Last week, Thomas had a 22.6% target share with a 66% team route per dropback rate and 1.65 yards per route run. He led the team with eight targets (second with 43 receiving yards). Denver was pliable against tight ends last season, allowing the fifth-most receiving yards and fantasy points to the position.
Adam Trautman: Last week, Trautman had a 59% team route per dropback rate, which should climb with Greg Dulcich hurt. He commanded a 14.7% target share while leading the team with two red zone targets. Trautman is a decent TE2 this week who could flirt with TE1 production in the coming weeks. Washington gave up the fifth-fewest fantasy points and tenth-lowest yards per reception to tight ends last year.
Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots
- MIA -3, O/U 46.5
- Dolphins vs. Patriots Player Prop Bets via BettingPros
Pace and playcalling notes
- Watching Mike McDaniel and Tua Tagovailoa do their thing is beautiful. The Dolphins were seventh in neutral pace and fourth in neutral passing rate in Week 1.
- I know seeing the total for this game could leave some people scratching their heads, but it’s justified with the projected play volume incoming here. You might want to sit down for this, but in Week 1, New England was second in neutral pace and sixth in neutral passing rate.
Tua Tagovailoa: Tagovailoa was amazing in Week 1. He was the QB1 in fantasy, leading the NFL in passing grade, yards per attempt, and big-time throw rate. Tagovailoa faces a Patriots’ secondary that held Philly to the eighth-lowest yards per attempt for the week while also ranking 18th in passer rating with the eighth-worst adjusted completion rate. New England utilized man coverage on 48-61% of their corner’s snaps in Week 1. Last year, Tagovailoa had the ninth-highest yards per attempt and passer rating against man coverage. Tagovailoa is a QB1.
Mac Jones: Mac Jones faces a Miami secondary that had all three corners finish Week 1 inside the top 32 corners in man coverage snaps (29-31%). Last year, Jones had the 11th-best yards per attempt against man. Still, he also was second-worst in adjusted completion rate and 15th in passer rating against man coverage. In this new up-tempo Patriots passing attack, Jones squares off against a South Beach secondary that gave up the 11th-highest yards per attempt and ninth-highest passer rating in Week 1. Jones is a strong QB2 who could post fringe QB1 numbers if this game becomes an all-out shootout.
Raheem Mostert: Mostert popped up on the injury report Wednesday with a knee issue. He didn’t practice Wednesday but practiced in full the rest of the week. He carries no injury designation into this game. Last week, Mostert played 73% of the snaps with 12 touches and 50 total yards. He’s ranked 21st in yards after contact per attempt and 11th in elusive rating. In Week 1, 70% of Mostert’s runs were zone-based. Last year, the Patriots allowed the 11th-lowest explosive run rate and the third-lowest yards per carry to zone runs. Mostert is an RB2.
|Player||Rushing attempts||Targets||Routes||RZ opportunities|
Rhamondre Stevenson: Stevenson finished as the RB13 in Week 1. He played 72% of the snaps with 18 touches and 89 total yards. Stevenson was tenth in route run per team dropback rate in Week 1 with an 11.1% target share. As good as all of these numbers are, Stevenson finished Week 1 ranked 54th out of 55 qualifying running backs in yards after contact per attempt and recorded only one missed tackle. We’ll see if that’s the fallout of Stevenson coming off an illness (that’s my guess). An inability to break tackles would be a huge change for him, as he was one of the best backs in the NFL at this last season. Stevenson is in line for a monster bounce-back week against a run defense that had the lowest stuff rate in the NFL and the fifth-highest yards after contact per attempt allowed in Week 1. Stevenson is a top-ten running back.
Ezekiel Elliott: Elliott is an RB3/4. He played a complementary role behind Stevenson in Week 1 with 35% of the snaps played. He had nine touches and 43 total yards. Elliott was 53rd among 55 qualifying running backs in yards after contact per attempt. He was tied for the lowest elusive rating among the same group. The matchup is so good against Miami it could make Elliott look like he has a second wind. He doesn’t.
Tyreek Hill: Hill destroyed man coverage in Week 1, and he’s poised to do it again in Week 2. Hill was seventh among wide receivers last week in target share, first in air yards, and posted a mind-numbing 6.1 YPRR. Last year against man coverage, Hill was first in target share, second in TPRR, and third in yards per route run. Hill will run about 57% of his routes against Johnathon Jones (54% catch rate and 77.0 passer rating allowed in 2022) and Christian Gonzalez (70% catch rate and 90.0 passer rating allowed). Hill is a top-three wide receiver.
Jaylen Waddle: Waddle took a backseat to the Tyreek Hill show last week, and he’s likely stuck doing the same this week. Waddle finished Week 1 with five targets, four receptions, and 78 receiving yards. Last season against man, Waddle had a 15.5% target share, 16% TPRR, and 1.82 yards per route run. Waddle is a WR2 who will run about 72% of his routes against Jones and Gonzalez.
Kendrick Bourne: Bourne led the team with a 22.2% target share and 40.1% air yard share last week. He should be the leading receiver again this week with Miami rolling out man coverage. Bourne is New England’s best weapon against man coverage, with 2.42 yards per route run and an 18% TPRR against the coverage last year. Bourne is a WR4/5 that will run about 75% of his routes against Xavien Howard (Weeks 12-18 last year, 66.7% catch rate and 85.7 passer rating allowed) and Eli Apple (58.2% catch rate and 99.6 passer rating allowed in 2022).
JuJu Smith-Schuster: Smith-Schuster isn’t playable. He wasn’t a full-time player last week, with only a 39.7% route run per team dropback rate. He drew a 13.0% target share with a 1.43 yards per route run. Sit him until further notice.
Durham Smythe: Smythe was “the guy” in the tight end room for Miami in Week 1 with an 84% route per team dropback rate. Smythe had a 15.6% target share but a replacement level 1.13 YPRR. While New England softened against tight ends last year, if the Week 1 trend continues, this will be a must-sit spot for tight ends in 2023. Last week, New England was one of only two teams (New Orleans) holding tight ends to zero receiving yards. The Patriots have been a shutdown unit against this position as recently as 2021, allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to tight ends. Sit Smythe.
Hunter Henry: Henry had a 56% route per team dropback rate in Week 1, which is forgettable. His 11.1% target share is also nothing to get excited about, but he produced 1.7 yards per route run while also drawing a red zone target. Henry could post TE1 numbers in Week 2 against a defense that gave up the fourth-most fantasy points to tight ends in Week 1 (third-most in 2022).
New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers
- NO -3, O/U 39.5
- Saints vs. Panthers Player Prop Bets via BettingPros
Pace and playcalling notes
- HOLY MOLY! The Saints were sixth in neutral pace and 14th in neutral passing rate in Week 1.
- The Panthers, on the other hand, tried to protect their rookie quarterback. Carolina had the second-slowest neutral pace and the sixth-highest neutral rushing rate.
Derek Carr: Carr had a solid start to his career in the Big Easy. Last week, he tossed for 305 yards while ranking 13th in passing grade, second in yards per attempt, and fifth in big-time throw rate. Carr is set for another nice day against a secondary that allowed the ninth-highest passer rating, 12th-highest adjusted completion rate, and 11th-most passing touchdowns in 2022. Carr is a strong QB2 who could sneak into the top 12 this week.
Bryce Young: Young is a must-sit in 1QB formats and possibly in Superflex, depending on your options. Last week, Young was dead last in passing grade, having the third-lowest yards per attempt and sixth-lowest adjusted completion rate. New Orleans allowed the third-lowest yards per attempt and ninth-lowest passer rating last year. The Saints will try and rattle the rookie early. They blitzed at the ninth-highest rate in Week 1.
Jamaal Williams: Williams was the Saints’ bell cow last week. He played 75% of the snaps but found little running room with only 52 total yards on 20 touches. The situation has changed, but Williams remains a replacement-level runner. Among 55 qualifying running backs, he ranks 28th in yards after contact per attempt and 30th in elusive rating. In Week 1, Carolina had the 14th-lowest stuff rate while allowing the fourth-highest yards after contact per attempt. They also permitted the second-highest yards per carry to gap runs (Williams 55% gap in Week 1). Williams is an RB2 with upside for more in Week 2.
Miles Sanders: Sanders is the lead back in Carolina after one game. Sanders played 57% of the snaps in Week 1 with 22 touches and 98 total yards. He was grossly inefficient as a runner in Week 1, though. Among 55 qualifying running backs, he ranked 36th in yards after contact per attempt and 41st in elusive rating. Sanders is an RB2 headed for a productive day. Last week, New Orleans allowed the sixth-highest yards after contact per attempt and eighth-highest yards before contact per attempt. Last week, 72% of Sander’s runs were on zone plays. New Orleans allowed the 14th-highest yards per carry to zone runs in Week 1.
Chuba Hubbard: Hubbard is a low-end flex/handcuff. He played 36% of snaps last week with 11 touches and 69 total yards (nice 🙂 In Week 1, 72% of Hubbard’s rushes were on gap runs. In Week 1, New Orleans allowed the third-highest yards per carry to gap runs.
Michael Thomas: Thomas looked fully healthy last week with an 84% route run per team dropback rate. Thomas saw a 24.2% target share and a 19.1% air yard share, which he turned into 1.91 yards per route run. Thomas is a WR3 who will run about 50% of his routes against Donte Jackson (76.6% catch rate and 92.7 passer rating allowed in 2022) and C.J. Henderson (68.9% catch rate and 106.9 passer rating allowed last year).
Chris Olave: Olave liftoff has begun. Last week, he earned a 30.3% target share and a 34.3% air yard share. Olave ripped apart the Titans with 3.73 YPRR. Last season, he was seventh in open score, immediately behind Stefon Diggs. Olave is a WR1 who will run about half of his routes against Jackson and Henderson.
Rashid Shaheed: Shaheed cruised to an 18.2% target share and a 24.4% air yard share last week. He led the group with a 16.2 aDOT and was second behind only Olave with 89 receiving yards. Shaheed smoked the Titans with 3.56 YPRR. Shaheed is a WR3/4 that will run about 76% of his routes against Jackson and Henderson.
Adam Thielen: No one in this passing attack is worth playing in Week 2. Thielen had a 5.3% target share and 3.5% air yard share with his 4.0 aDOT. Thielen had 0.33 yards per route run and was only targeted on 6% of his routes. He will match up with Alontae Taylor (77.8% catch rate, 97.2 passer rating allowed) in the slot on about 72% of his routes. Sit Thielen.
Jonathan Mingo: Mingo had a 13.2% target share and 36.8% air-yard share in his first NFL game. He only turned that into 0.44 yards per route run. Mingo will run about 76% of his routes on the perimeter against Marshon Lattimore (33.3% catch rate and 6.9 passer rating allowed in Week 1) and Paulson Adebo (75% catch rate and 77.1 passer allowed in Week 1). Sit Mingo.
Terrace Marshall: Marshall led this rag-tag bunch in target share (15.8%) and air yard share (41.7%). Marshall closed the book on Week 1 with 23 receiving yards and 0.61 yards per route run. Marshall will see Lattimore and/or Adebo in coverage on about 78% of his routes. Sit Marshall.
Juwan Johnson: Johnson is a TE2 this week. In Week 1, he cemented himself as the Saints’ starting tight end with a 73% team route per dropback rate with a 15.2% target share (1.29 YPRR). This isn’t the matchup to go back to Johnson, though. Carolina permitted the ninth-fewest receiving yards and 12th-lowest yards per reception to tight ends in 2022.
Hayden Hurst: This is an easy one. Sit Hayden Hurst. He had a strong Week 1 with an 18.4% target share and 1.52 yards per route run, but the Saints do not allow production to tight ends. They are one of only two teams that didn’t allow a receiving yard to tight ends in Week 1. Last year, they gave up the fewest fantasy points and receiving yards to tight ends. Find a streaming replacement for Hurst for Week 2.
Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
- CLE -2.5, O/U 38.5
- Browns vs. Steelers Player Prop Bets via BettingPros
Pace and playcalling notes
- Cleveland was 13th in neutral pace while having the ninth-highest neutral rushing rate in Week 1.
- The Steelers had the third-slowest neutral pace in Week 1, but the interesting factoid here is that they led the NFL in neutral passing rate. We’ll see if they continue with that game plan this week against a stout Browns pass defense.
Deshaun Watson: Watson still looks like a shell of his former self on the NFL field. Last week, he was 17th in passing grade with the tenth-lowest yards per attempt and seventh-lowest adjusted completion rate. Watson finished as the QB5 in fantasy last week because of his 45 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. Last year, we could tell ourselves a story about rust. Still, the more starts that Watson gets in a Browns’ uniform, the more distant memory of his former excellence becomes. That said, if Cleveland can keep Watson clean in the pocket, this could be a good spot for him to pad his stats. Last week, Pittsburgh allowed the eighth-highest yards per attempt and third-highest passer rating to the 49ers. Pittsburgh also had the top pressure rate in the NFL. The Bengals were able to pressure Watson at the 14th-highest rate in Week 1, but they also blitzed at the seventh-highest rate. Watson is a QB2.
Kenny Pickett: What happened to preseason Pickett? The player that excited us and gave us hope that he had taken another step in his evolution. That could still happen in 2023, but last week was frightening. Pickett finished with the 11th-lowest passing grade, sixth-lowest yards per attempt, and 14th-highest turnover-worthy play rate. This week doesn’t get any easier. Cleveland is fresh off dismantling Joe Burrow and making him look like a junior high school quarterback. Cleveland is second in pass defense DVOA. They held Burrow to 2.5 yards per attempt and a 51.0 passer rating. Good luck, Pickett. He’s a basement-level QB2.
Nick Chubb: Chubb was the RB10 in Fantasy Week 1. He played 49% of the snaps with 22 touches and 127 total yards. Chubb also had a 25.7% route per team dropback rate with a 13.8% target share. His 2.33 yards per route run was impressive despite a small sample size. Chubb keeps motoring along as one of the best rushers in the NFL. He was 12th in yards after contact per attempt and 23rd in elusive rating in Week 1. Chubb now faces a Steelers defense that permitted the second-highest yards after contact per attempt and sixth-highest missed tackles allowed per attempt in Week 1. Chubb remains a stellar RB1.
|Player||Rushing attempts||Targets||Routes||RZ opportunities|
Najee Harris: The days of Harris soaking up snaps and voluming his way to the fantasy promise land seem over. Harris played 52% of the snaps in Week 1 with eight touches and 33 total yards. His 2.0 yards after contact per attempt was dreadful, and his 0.08 yards per route run was even uglier. If Pittsburgh’s defense can keep this close, Harris could do some damage on the ground against a run defense that allowed the third-highest missed tackles rate and yards after contact per attempt in Week 1. Harris is an RB2/3.
Jaylen Warren: Warren wasn’t any better than Harris in Week 1. He played 40% of the snaps as he struggled to 18 total yards on eight touches. Take your pick of which is uglier. His 1.67 yards after contact per attempt or his 0.67 yards per route run. Trick question. They are both putrid. I’d love to point at the offensive line and say it’s their fault, but they are doing their jobs. Pittsburgh has the seventh-highest yards before contact per attempt. Sadly, they have the seventh-lowest yards after contact per attempt. Hopefully, Cleveland is the magic elixir that cures this Steelers run game. Warren is an RB3.
Browns’ WR Amari Cooper, who aggravated a groin injury at practice Saturday and is listed as questionable for Monday night, is considered unlikely to play vs. the Steelers, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 17, 2023
Amari Cooper: Cooper should lead the way this week for the Browns. In Week 1, the Steelers operated in zone coverage on about 50% of their snaps. Last year, Cooper was Cleveland’s weapon against zone, leading the team with a 22.8% target share and 22% TPRR. Cooper was 16th in receiving grade and 22nd in yards per route run against zone. Cooper is a WR2 who will run about 68% of his routes against Levi Wallace (54.9% catch rate and 74.6 passer rating allowed in coverage in 2022) and Patrick Peterson (60% catch rate and 77.3 passer rating allowed in coverage in 2022). Editor’s note: Cooper popped up on the injury report late after reportedly aggravating a groin injury. A late-week injury to a player playing on Monday night isn’t ideal, and fantasy managers will need to have a contingency plan in place. If you want or need to wait until Monday, check to see if Elijah Moore is available in your league. Cooper is a must-sit.
Elijah Moore: Last week Moore tied Cooper for the team lead in target share (24.1%) while also handling a 20.3% air yard share. Moore was second on the team with a 22.7% first-read share. Moore will match up with Chandon Sullivan (78.9% catch rate and 107.8 passer rating allowed last season) on about 66% of his routes from the slot as a WR3/4. Moore and Cooper were the only wide receivers to see red zone targets in Week 1.
Donovan Peoples-Jones: Sit Peoples-Jones until further notice. He has become an afterthought in this passing offense with the addition of Moore. Peoples-Jones only handled a 6.9% target share in Week 1 (16.0 aDOT) and a 9.1% first read share.
George Pickens: Pickens started the 2023 season off on a disappointing note. Even with Diontae Johnson falling victim to injury, Pickens couldn’t assume the top spot in this passing attack. He was second on the team with a 15.2% target share and tied with Allen Robinson and Calvin Austin with a 16.0% first-read share. The Browns deployed zone coverage on 60-64% of their corner’s snaps in Week 1, which is bad news for Pickens’ Week 2 outlook. Last season, among 83 qualifying receivers, Pickens was 66th in receiving grade and 58th in YPRR against zone coverage. Pickens will run about 88% of his routes against Denzel Ward (50% catch rate, 57.3 passer rating) and Martin Emerson (16.7% catch rate, 39.6 passer rating). Pickens is a WR4.
Allen Robinson: Last week, Robinson drew a 17.4% target share and 18.2% air yard share while running about 86% of his routes from the slot. Robinson had an 18% TPRR and 1.42 YPRR. He’ll see Greg Newsome (66.7% catch rate, 82.6 passer rating) in coverage for most of the day. Robinson doesn’t look like total dust, but he’s hard to trust as anything more than a WR5/desperation flex.
David Njoku: Njoku’s Week 1 was less than stellar in a good matchup. He only garnered a 62% route per team dropback rate and 10.3% target share. He watched Harrison Bryant collect the only tight end target inside the 20 yard line as well. Njoku is a sketchy low-end TE1 this week facing a Steelers defense that held tight ends to the ninth-fewest receiving touchdowns while giving up the 11th-most receiving yards.
Pat Freiermuth: Freiermuth got banged up last week, which could account for his 46% route per team dropback rate. He only handled an 8.7% target share with a 17% TPRR. Despite all of this, he’s a borderline TE1 because of his red zone role. Freiermuth led the team last week with three red-zone targets. If he sees limited snaps, he’s still a decent bet to spike a touchdown. If he does that, he will likely be a top-12 tight end this week. Cleveland permitted the seventh-fewest fantasy points and only two receiving touchdowns to tight ends last season.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Philadelphia Eagles
- PHI -6, O/U 49
- Vikings vs. Eagles Player Prop Bets via BettingPros
Pace and playcalling notes
- We’ll see if this trend continues, but after one game, the Vikings ranked 16th in neutral pace. Last year, they were fifth in this category. Despite their slower pace, Minnesota remained pass-centric, ranking third in neutral passing rate.
- Philly walks away from Week 1, sitting at third in neutral pace and 14th in neutral passing rate. Neither is a surprising figure.
Kirk Cousins: Cousins heads into Week 2 fresh off a strong Week 1 performance. He finished as the QB9 in fantasy scoring. Cousins was 14th in passing grade, fifth in yards per attempt, and fifth in adjusted completion rate in Week 1. While the Eagles could deploy more man coverage in this game, they could remain a zone-heavy pass defense. In Week 1, they defended the second-most dropbacks in zone coverage. Last season, they allowed the eighth-lowest yards per attempt and held quarterbacks to the sixth-lowest passer rating in zone coverage. Cousins last season against zone ranked 16th in yards per attempt, 12th in passer rating, and fifth in CPOE on deep throws (per Fantasy Points Data). Cousins is a low-end QB1/high-end QB2.
Jalen Hurts: Hurts didn’t play his best football in Week 1. Despite ranking tenth in passing grade and 11th in adjusted completion rate, he logged the eighth-lowest yards per attempt for the week as the QB19 in fantasy. Last season, Hurts finished with only two games outside the top 12 in weekly fantasy scoring at the quarterback position. This is a huge bounce-back opportunity for Hurts. Brian Flores’ new-look defense was surprisingly majorly zone-heavy in Week 1. We’ll see if that trend continues all season, but we can’t ignore that his corners operated in zone coverage on 72-86% of their snaps in Week 1. Last season, Hurts was eighth in adjusted completion rate, eighth in yards per attempt, and third in passer rating against zone coverage (minimum 100 dropbacks per Fantasy Points Data). Hurts is a top-three fantasy option this week.
Alexander Mattison: Mattison was an uninspiring workhorse in Week 1. Honestly, I’m not shocked by his relative meh stat line. Despite playing 73% of the snaps, Mattison finished with only 14 touches and 44 total yards as a touchdown saved his fantasy day. Mattison ran a route on 53% of dropbacks, sadly only drawing a 9% target share. His 2.45 yards after contact and 17.5 elusive rating were pitiful. Mattison faces a tough task this week against an Eagles run defense that looks reborn. After ranking 18th in stuff rate and allowing the 12th-highest yards after contact per attempt last year, in Week 1, Philadelphia held New England to 3.4 yards per carry with the 11th-highest stuff rate and lowest yards after contact per attempt allowed. Mattison is a volume RB2.
Kenneth Gainwell: Gainwell has been ruled out (ribs).
D’Andre Swift: Swift should assume the lead-back role in Philadelphia. I’m also prepared for the pain of Rashaad Penny and/or Boston Scott trolling me all game with touchdowns. In Week 1, Swift played 29% of the snaps with only two touches and three total yards. Swift only saw a 34.2% route per dropback rate in Week 1. Last season, Swift ranked 20th in yards after contact per attempt, seventh in breakaway rate, and 16th in elusive rating. Minnesota allowed only 2.2 yards per carry and the tenth-lowest yards before contact in Week 1. Still, their 21st ranking in stuff rate illuminates that they might not be that good but that Tampa Bay could just be that bad at running the ball in 2023. The Vikings allowed the 11th-most receptions and ninth-most receiving yards to backs last season. Swift could be busy in Week 2, but I’m prepared for pain if Penny or Scott gets into the rotation. Swift is an RB2 with big-time upside in Week 2.
Justin Jefferson: Week 1 was a dominant opening performance from Justin Jefferson. He vacuumed up a 29.2% target share while handling a 38.7% air yard share. Jefferson finished second in receiving yards behind only Tyreek Hill as the WR6 for the week. I know none of this shocks anyone with Jefferson on their roster. He’s a stud that only leaves your lineup for his bye week. Jefferson is a top-three wide receiver weekly. He’ll run about 75% of his routes against Darius Slay (56.6% catch rate and 82.4 passer rating allowed in 2022) and Josh Jobe (four targets defended in his two-year career). James Bradberry likely doesn’t play in this game (concussion protocol). Don’t put it past the Eagles to shadow Jefferson with Slay in this game. Have they allowed Slay to shadow recently? No, but new defensive coordinator Sean Desai has a history of utilizing more man coverage than his predecessor. In 2021 with the Bears, Jaylon Johnson shadowed three times following the opposing top receiving on 57-89% of their routes.
Jordan Addison: Sadly, Addison wasn’t even a full-time player in Week 1. He only saw a 65.9% route per dropback rate. He was productive when he was on the field, with 1.97 yards per route run (61 receiving yards), but only saw a 13.6% target share (19.3% TPRR). Addison could graduate to a full-time role in Week 2, especially if Jefferson gets followed all game by Slay. Addison will run about 65% of his routes on the perimeter against Slay and Jobe. If Slay is in Jefferson’s back pocket, Addison could feast against the Eagles’ unproven second year corner. Addison is a WR3/4 that could walk into WR2 production this week.
K.J. Osborn: Osborn posted a very “K.J. Osborn” type of stat line in Week 1 with six targets (13.6% target share), 31 receiving yards, and zero scores. The offseason rumors were true at least for one week, with Osborn playing more than Addison as he soaked up a 93% route participation. Osborn played more outside last week, with 53% of his snaps coming via the boundary. If Addison sees his playing time bump in Week 2, I expect Osborn to be utilized more in the slot, pitting him against Avonte Maddox (82.6% catch rate and 100.3 passer rating allowed in 2022). Osborn is a WR5/6 that only piques slight interest in Showdown DFS.
A.J. Brown: Last week, Brown led the Eagles with a 33.3% target share and 58.7% air yard share. He led the team in receiving yards against the Patriots man coverage heavy defense. This week, he should still be heavily involved against what looks like a zone-centric affair in Minnesota. Last year, Brown had a 22.2% target share (Smith 23.4%) against zone while tying Smith with a 23% TPRR against the coverage. Brown bested Smith with 2.56 yards per route run against zone, which placed him ninth among wide receivers in this metric against zone, immediately behind Davante Adams (minimum 100 routes per Fantasy Points Data). Brown is a WR1 who will run about 92% of his routes against Akayleb Evans (60.7% catch rate and 102.4 passer rating allowed in his career) and Byron Murphy (64.3% catch rate and 105.5 passer rating allowed in 2022).
DeVonta Smith: In Week 1, Smith matched Brown with a 33.3% target share, but his air yard share was 34.3% as his aDOT was 9.8 (Brown 18.6). Smith led the team with a 23.4% target share last year against zone coverage. He tied Brown with a 23% TPRR as he finished with 1.94 yards per route run against the coverage (27th among 119 qualifying wide receivers). Smith will run about 78% of his routes against Evans and Murphy as a strong WR2 with WR1 upside in Week 2.
T.J. Hockenson: Hockenson finished with the second-most targets for any tight end in Week 1 (eight). Hockenson saw a 21.9% target share and 10.7% air yard share, but he did very little with the volume. Despite ranking fourth in receiving grade among tight ends (minimum three targets), he could only muster 0.97 yards per route run. Last year, after joining the Vikings, Hockenson saw a 22.7% target share, 28% TPRR, and 1.78 yards per route run against zone coverage. These figures ranked third, third, and eighth among 29 qualifying tight ends over that span. Hockenson remains a high-end TE1 who could be in for a busy day if Philadelphia tries to take away Jefferson. Last year, Philly allowed the 13th-lowest yards per reception and fantasy points to opposing tight ends.
Dallas Goedert: Yep, Godert goose egged in Week 1. He finished a total zero in the box score with only one target. Shrug that poor performance off and realize Goedert remains a top-five option at the tight-end position. Goedert ranked fourth in receiving grade and sixth in yards per route run among tight ends last year. That talent hasn’t gone anywhere. Last season, Goedert posted a strong 19.2% target share, 20% TPRR, and 2.08 yards per route run against zone coverage. Last year, Minnesota allowed the fourth-highest yards per reception and ninth-most (tied) receiving touchdowns to tight ends.
All data utilized in this article is courtesy of Fantasy Points Data, PFF, FTN, 4for4, Rotoviz, RBdsm.com, The Edge from the 33rd Team, and Playerprofiler.com unless otherwise specified.