Week 2 brought us a slew of injuries, and several unexpected games. The Saints-Giants was unanimously thought to be the shootout of the week. Instead, the Giants squeezed out a 16-13 victory without scoring an offensive touchdown.
The most difficult part of predicting fantasy performances early in the season is evaluating team’s defenses. The Giants added a lot to their defense, and they are drastically improved. The Raiders and Jaguars, on the other hand, added a lot to their defenses, and they’ve actually looked worse thus far.
I use a A-F grading scale for each player. I do this because I think many players values are equal. In DFS, if two players have the same grade, go with the cheaper option. The breakdown is as follows.
“A” Players are expected to have big games. “B” players are must starts. “C” players are borderline starters. A “C+” means I would lean towards starting them, and a “C-” means I’d lean towards not starting them. “D” players are not recommended starters, and “F” players are not listed.
As it related to DFS; These numbers are based on FanDuel’s player pricing. Grades are based on FanDuels’s 1/2 point PPR scoring system. A= $8,000 plus, B= $6,500-$7,900, C= $5,500-$6,400, D= $4,600-$5,400, and F= $4,500 and under. Keep in mind QBs carry a heavier price tag than the other positions.
Week 3 Game Previews and Fantasy Predictions
Cleveland Browns at Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins can not run the ball. Ryan Tannehill is their leading rusher through two games with 52 yards. Arian Foster looks like he’ll be out this game. RB Jay Ajayi will never get a better chance to shine than this week versus the Browns. Ajayi has a lot of talent. It has been other issues that have cost him opportunities. DeVante Parker reemerged last week as the potential star that he is, and Jarvis Landry is always solid in this pass heavy Miami offense.
The Browns will start their third QB in three games this year, with rookie Cody Kessler getting his first start. Rookie WR Corey Coleman has a broken hand. The Browns offense is very unpredictable right now. RB Isaiah Crowell is third in the league in rushing yards, and Duke Johnson’s role has been significantly diminished.
Isaiah Crowell C+
Tyrell Pryor C-
Gary Barnidge/Duke Johnson D+
Jarvis Landry B+
DeVante Parker B+
Ryan Tannehill B
Jay Ajayi B-
Kenyan Drake C-
Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars
This game could end up being a shootout. The Jaguars defense was thought to be improved from last year, but they’ve been awful thus far. Mike Wallace and Dennis Pitta have returned to relevance after two years of fantasy invisibility. Both of them, as well as Joe Flacco should have nice games against a weak Jacksonville secondary.
Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns have been very quiet in their first two games. This could be the game they explode. Neither team can run the ball, so there should be a lot of passing in this game. The Jags are still waiting on the return of Chris Ivory to help their running game. T.J. Yeldon had only 34 yards on 15 touches last week (including 8 catches for an amazing 10 yards).
Mike Wallace B-
Dennis Pitta B-
Joe Flacco B-
Justin Forsett/Steve Smith/Breshard Perriman C-
Terrance West D+
Allen Robinson A
Blake Bortles B+
Allen Hurns B
Julius Thomas C+
Chris Ivory (Q) C+
T.J. Yeldon/Marquise Lee C-
Arizona Cardinals at Buffalo Bills
The Bills have played poorly in their 0-2 start. They have a much more talented roster than they’ve showed so far. Arizona has to travel to Buffalo to play a day game. This is a must win game for the Bills, and this could be one of those unexpected upsets.
The Bills don’t match-up well with the Cards though. Sammy Watkins playing on a bad ankle versus CB Patrick Peterson is not a good match-up. LeSean McCoy and Tyrod Taylor will have to play great to pull this one off. The Bills defense got shredded by the Jets last week. Carson Palmer, David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Michael Floyd are all must starts.
David Johnson A-
Carson Palmer B+
Larry Fitzgerald B
Michael Floyd B-
John Brown D+
LeSean McCoy B-
Tyrod Taylor C
Sammy Watkins (Q)/Charles Clay/Marquise Goodwin D+
Oakland Raiders at Tennessee Titans
A tale of two very different defenses. The Titans added very little to what was a weak defense last year, and they’ve played great. The Raiders added several pieces to their defense, and they’ve been terrible, allowing 834 passing yards in two games. The Titans lack the WRs to fully take advantage of this weakness.
Amari Cooper and Latavius Murray have pretty much become must starts almost every week. I might shy away from Derek Carr and Michael Crabtree in this one though. Marcus Mariota and Delanie Walker should have good games. DeMarco Murray has become a high end RB again, much in thanks to his receiving production.
Amari Cooper B
Latavius Murray C+
Michael Crabtree C
Derek Carr C
Clive Walford C-
DeMarco Murray B+
Delanie Walker B
Marcus Mariota C+
Tajae Sharpe C
Rishad Matthews C-
Derrick Henry D+
Washington Redskins at New York Giants
This game is a must win for the 0-2 Redskins playing the division favorite 2-0 Giants. The Skins have been bad on both sides of the ball. The Giants defense is a legit top 10 defense right now. Washington has had no running game so far this year. Kirk Cousins will be throwing a lot in this one. Jordan Reed has been very quiet this year, and he will need to have a big game for the Skins to have a chance.
There has been much talk about the rematch between Odell Beckham and CB Josh Norman. Norman got the better of Beckham last year, limiting him to 30 yards. The Giants don’t have any RBs to take advantage of Washington’s poor run defense. I think Sterling Shepard and Victor Cruz could be big in this game.
Jordan Reed B+
DeSean Jackson (Q) C+
Jamison Crowder C
Kirk Cousins/Matt Jones/Josh Doctson/Pierre Garcon D+
Eli Manning B+
Odell Beckham B
Sterling Shepard B
Victor Cruz C+
Rashad Jennings (Q)/Shane Vereen C
Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers
Injuries to Adrian Peterson and Jonathan Stewart have opened up the door for backup RBs Jerick McKinnon of the Vikings, and Fozzy Whitaker and Cameron Artis-Payne of the Panthers. With both teams sporting solid run defenses, I wouldn’t expect too much from any of them.
The combination of Kelvin Benjammin, Greg Olsen, and Cam Newton is looking quite unstoppable. Those three guys are obvious must starts versus anyone. The Panther’s secondary has been shaky in the early going with CB Josh Norman gone. Stefon Diggs has elevated himself to must start status.
Stefon Diggs B
Jerick McKinnon C
Sam Bradford C-
Kyle Rudolph D+
Cam Newton A-
Greg Olsen B+
Kelvin Benjammin B
Fozzy Whitaker C
Cameron Artis-Payne/Devin Funchess C-
Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals
The Broncos have a historically great defense. In their last four games going back to last year, they’ve shut down Andrew Luck, Tom Brady, and Cam Newton twice. What chance does Andy Dalton have? You kind of have to start A.J. Green, but I wouldn’t expect much. All other Bengals are must sits.
The Bengals defense is not bad in their own right. Trevor Siemien is due for a bad game. This game should be the defensive struggle of the week. Fantasy points will be hard to come by.
C.J. Anderson B-
Demaryius Thomas B-
Emmanuel Sanders C+
Virgil Green D+
A.J. Green C+
Giovani Bernard C-
Jeremy Hill/Tyler Boyd/Brandon LaFell D
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers
The Lions played the Packers tough last season. They beat them 18-16 in Green Bay, and lost the other contest on a last second Hailmary. The Lions defense has been bad in two games this season. The lone bright spot being CB Darius Slay, who should be on Jordy Nelson all day. The Packers offense is looking more like last year’s version, rather than the 2014 version many were expecting.
The availability of Packer’s CB Sam Shields in very important in this match-up. Stefon Diggs shredded them in Shield’s absence last week. If he’s out again, Marvin Jones could have a nice game. With Ameer Abdullah injured, Theo Riddick will see most of the snaps, with Dwayne Washington getting the short yardage carries.
Marvin Jones B
Theo Riddick C+
Matthew Stafford C+
Golden Tate/Anquan Boldin/Eric Ebron (Q) C
Aaron Rodgers B
Jordy Nelson B-
Eddie Lacy C+
Randall Cobb C+
Devante Adams C-
Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This is a good match-up for the Bucs, who got hammered by Arizona last week. The Bucs have a strong run defense, and a terrible pass defense. The Rams have no passing game as of now. They’ve yet to score a TD in two games. This could be another difficult game for Todd Gurley.
Doug Martin going down was a big loss for Tampa. Charles Simms is an adequate replacement. The Rams do have a strong run defense though. The Bucs will have to beat them through the air. Jameis Winston does play much better at home, and he will look to redeem his 4 interception performance from last week.
Todd Gurley B-
Tavon Austin C
Kenny Britt C-
Mike Evans B+
Jameis Winston B-
Charles Simms C+
Vincent Jackson C
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks offensive line has been 100% responsible for their early season struggles. They can’t block in the run game, and they can’t protect Russell Wilson. Wilson is playing on a bad ankle as well, eliminating his ability to scramble. Thomas Rawls, Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, and jimmy Graham are all playing with injuries.
The 49ers shutout the Rams Week 1, then allowed 43 points to the Panthers last week, so it’s difficult to figure them out right now. The 49ers offense has no chance against the dominant defense of Seattle.
Vance McDonald C-
Carlos Hyde D+
Torrey Smith/Jeremy Kerley D+
Tyler Lockett C+
Thomas Rawls C+
Russell Wilson C
Doug Baldwin (Q) C
Chistine Michael C-
Jimmy Graham D+
Pittsburgh Steelers at Philidelphia Eagles
The Eagles have looked great in their first two games with their shiny new QB Carson Wentz. The Eagles have yet to face a real NFL team though, beating up on the hapless Browns and Bears. Now, we’ll see what they can do against one of premier teams.
The Steelers offense has been unstoppable in both the running and passing game. I don’t see the Eagles slowing them down. Ryan Mathews is off to a good start with 3 TDs in two games, but he’s a must sit against the Steeler’s run defense. Pittsburgh has given up some yards in the air, but I don’t know if Carson Wentz will be good enough when trying to match the Steeler’s offense.
Ben Roethlisberger A
Antonio Brown A
DeAngelo Williams B+
Markus Wheaton C
Sammie Coates/Eli Rogers/Jesse James D+
Jordan Matthews C+
Zach Ertz (Q) C
Ryan Mathews C-
Carson Wentz D+
New York Jets at Kansas City Chiefs
Jamaal Charles will be out for one more week. Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West will fill in again. They won’t find much success running the ball on the Jets, but they could have an impact in the passing game. After two difficult match-ups versus CBs Justin Verrett and Jonathan Joseph, Jeremy Maclin finally gets a nice match-up. His speed should play well against Darrelle Revis, who has definitely lost a step.
The Jets offense has been purring in their first two games. Matt Forte, Erik Decker, and Quincy Enunwa are all off to excellent starts. They run into a very tough Chiefs defense in Arrowhead this week though. Temper expectations for all of your Jets.
Matt Forte B-
Erik Decker B-
Brandon Marshall B-
Ryan Fitzpatrick /Quincy Enunwa D+
Jeremy Maclin B
Travis Kelce B
Spencer Ware C-
Alex Smith C-
San Diego Chargers at Indianapolis Colts
I would’ve never thought this before the season, but even with the loses of Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead, The Chargers are a better team than the Colts right now. With Woodhead and Allen out for the season, Melvin Gordon should be considered a Top 10 RB, and Travis Benjamin a Top 20 WR. San Diego does have to travel to the Eastern time zone to play in Indianapolis. I expect a lot of yards and points in this one.
The Colts are coming off a beating from the Broncos. Donte Moncrief will be out for a couple months. This will open up more chances for Phillip Dorsett. The Chargers do have a pretty good pass defense. They’ve given up some cheap yardage while leading big in both games. They are suspect against the run, but the Colts and Frank Gore have had little success on the ground so far.
Melvin gordon B+
Travis Benjamin B
Phillip Rivers B
Antonio Gates (Q) C+
Tyrell Williams C
Andrew Luck B
T.Y. Hilton B-
Phillip Dorsett C+
Frank Gore C-
Dwayne Allen/Jack Doyle D+
Chicago Bears at Dallas Cowboys
The Bears are in bad shape right now. They’ve lost soundly in their first two games. Jay Cutler looks like he’s going to miss this game with a sprained thumb. On the defense, the Bears will be without two of their best players, DT Eddie Goldman and LB Danny Trevathian.
It’s about time for Ezekial Elliott and Dez Bryant to breakout. This should be a great opportunity for both of them. In a Primetime game at Jerry World, playing against a reeling Bear’s team, there is no better stage.
Alshon Jeffrey B
Jeremy Langford C+
Kevin White/Brian Hoyer/Zach Miller D
Dez Bryant B+
Ezekial Elliott B+
Dak Prescott C+
Jason Witten/Cole Beasley/Terrance Williams C
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints
There’s no reason to expect this division game not to be a shootout. QBs Matt Ryan and Drew Brees are the top two passers in the league right now. They’ve combined for over 1,400 yards and 10 TDs in 2 games each. Julio Jones in dealing with a calf injury, but he’s still this week’s No. 1 WR.
Last week common sense said to start everyone in the Giants-Saints game. Common sense did not prevail in that one. But I’ll try it again, common sense says play all your Falcons and Saints in what should be a Monday Night barn-burner in the Superdome.
Julio Jones A+
Matt Ryan A-
Devonta Freeman B-
Tevin Coleman/Jacob Tamme C
Mohammed Sanu/Justin Hardy C-
Drew Brees A
Brandin Cooks B
Willie Snead B
Mark Ingram B
Mike Thomas C
Coby Fleener C-
- 2016 Fantasy Football: Week 13 Game Previews and Fantasy Predictions - December 3, 2016
- 2016 Fantasy Football: Week 12 Game Previews and Fantasy Predictions - November 25, 2016
- 2016 Fantasy Football: Week 11 Game Previews and Fantasy Predictions - November 19, 2016