For years, the Tight End position has been largely an afterthought in Fantasy aside from one or two names at the top of the pecking order each year, but a growing trend across the league of incorporating pass catching Tight Ends at a much higher rate has us salivating over the prospects of adding a valuable fantasy asset late in drafts at the position.
Of course, there have been some spikes at the position in the past – while last season saw 9 players score 150 or more PPR points (up from 5 in 2018), it’s not so long ago (2016) that we saw 11 tight ends reach that mark. Can 2020 be a new high for the position? We’re skeptical, but hopeful.
A Strong Foundation
We’ve looked at the turnover across the other Fantasy positions in our past few articles, but the tight end position doesn’t feature much at all. The elite players at the position all figure to contribute in a similar fashion in 2020. There’s little doubt that Travis Kelce, George Kittle, and Zach Ertz will continue their dominance, but players like Mark Andrews and Darren Waller represent a deepening at the second tier. Can we trust them to push to even greater heights in 2020 is the big question, but we’re confident that there is value all over the rankings.
Rob Gronkowski Returns to Football
The biggest splash at the position may not even be a Fantasy relevant one as Rob Gronkowski followed Tom Brady to Tampa Bay, coming out of retirement to play with his old QB. With two elite pass catchers in Chris Godwin and Mike Evans and an established group of TE’s featuring O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate, it’s unlikely Gronkowski returns to form in Tampa Bay. We’re sure he’ll contribute in the end zone, at least early in the season, but don’t expect sustained greatness in Fantasy terms.
It’s often times fools gold as Tight Ends are drafted early every year and the number that pan out isn’t encouraging, but the last few drafts saw a handful of very good pass catchers land with teams that have a need for them. Post-hype sleepers like Mike Gisicki in Miami, Hayden Hurst with Atlanta, as well as second year pro’s T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant, all have supressed expectations but represent real value if they contribute fully.
Early 2020 Tight End Rankings
- Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
- George Kittle, San Fransisco 49ers
- Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles
- Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens
- Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams
- Evan Engram, New York Giants
- Darren Waller, Los Vegas Raiders
- Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns
- Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers
- Jared Cook, New Orleans Saints
- Noah Fant, Denver Broncos
- Hayden Hurts, Atlanta Falcons
- Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles
- Blake Jarwin, Dallas Cowboys
- Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins
- Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions
- Eric Ebron, Pittsburgh Steelers
- Greg Olsen, Seattle Seahawks
- Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts
With the fireworks largely in the rear view mirror, we turn our attention to the 2020 Wide Receivers group, which can attribute much of it’s intrigue to the many quarter back situations that changed across the NFL landscape. That doesn’t mean there weren’t moves at the position that are worthy of talking about, with one giant move leading the way with head scratching consequences for both teams involved.
DeAndre Hopkins Shipped To The Desert
There aren’t many instances in the modern NFL where a top 3 player in their prime is moved, but here we are. In a trade that makes as little sense today as the day it was made, DeAndre Hopkins was dealt to the Arizona Cardinals for David Johnson (and some draft compensation that we don’t need to even touch on). While there are rumors that Head Coach Bill O’Brien and Hopkins didn’t see eye to eye and this was a culture move, the implications don’t change the fact that the leagues best Wide Reciever was just handed to Kyler Murray as a shiny new weapon.
Hopkins has performed well in the past with a litany of mediocre QB’s, so there shouldn’t be much of a drop off in efficiency. The only question becomes how much of the target share does he maintain with Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk established weapons in this offense?
Mid-Tier Receivers Seeking New Pastures
Beyond DeAndre Hopkins, the names changing teams are what you’d normally expect in the NFL off season. Stefon Diggs adds a new weapon for the emerging Josh Allen in Buffalo, Robby Anderson trades in his wings for fangs in his move to the Panthers, hoping he’ll get better production from his new QB Teddy Bridgewater than he did from the mercurial Sam Darnold, and Emmanual Sanders heads to Mardi Gras as he adds a legit number two receiver behind Michael Thomas in New Orleans.
What these receivers all have in common is that when they’re playing at a high level, they’re a must start, but their previous situations had led to plenty of fantasy frustration as consistency was a problem for each of them.
In addition, it will be interesting to see the kind of impact these guys have on the incumbent #1. Michael Thomas is fairly secure at the top of the pecking order in New Orleans, and Sanders should be productive regardless in the dome. John Brown and D.J. Moore should see a bigger cut of their target shares go to the new comers, though. Brown in particular may see a major loss of targets as Diggs represents a fairly large upgrade at the top of the depth chart.
2020 Early Wide Receiver Rankings
- Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
- DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals
- Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
- Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
- Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers
- Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions
- Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys
- Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions
- Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Juju Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers
- D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers
- Odell Beckham Jr, Cleveland Brown
- A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans
- Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears
- Adam Thielen, Minnesotta Vikings
- Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos
- Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams
- T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
- D.K. Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks
- Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons
- Julian Edelman, New England Patriots
- Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks
- Keenan Allen, San Diego Chargers
- Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns
- DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins
- Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills
- Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens
- Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans
- Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams
- Terry McLaurin, Washington Redskins
- D.J. Chark, Jacksonville Jaguars
- Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals
- A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
- Marvin Jones Jr, Detroit Lions
- Will Fuller, Houston Texans
- Emmanual Sanders, New Orleans Saints
- Sterling Shepard, New York Giants
- Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers
- Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys
- Jamison Crowder, New York Jets
- John Brown, Buffalo Bills
- Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals
- Preston Williams, Miami Dolphins
- CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys
- Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos
- Justin Jefferson, Minnesotta Vikings
- Henry Ruggs, Las Vegas Raiders
- Golden Tate, New York Giants
- Robby Anderson, Carolina Panthers
While the off season was dominated by concerns over COVID delays and the news that Tom Brady would be wearing a different jersey when the season starts, the running back position featured enough change through the draft and free agency that the fantasy implications are just as large, if not even larger.
Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon Re-homed
While both top two backs from the 2015 draft class have looked like elite NFL running backs for much of their career so far, the NFL’s new rinse-and-repeat strategy with running backs claims another two victims as both found themselves in new jersey’s to start the 2020 season.
Gurley’s health has always been a concern, and after the debacle in the Super Bowl, he couldn’t shake the doubters. Landing in Atlanta, though, is as good a spot as he could hope for, as the Falcon’s offense should alleviate the need to be the offensive linchpin while giving him ample opportunity to score fantasy points. Gordon ending up in Denver may not have the same affect on his fantasy production.
Sure, one could argue that they signed him to be the workhorse there, but with pass catching specialist Philip Lindsey still in town, and high pick Royce Freeman lurking, there’s not promise that Gordon get’s three downs worth of work. These are both excellent backs, but despite the injury history, I’m expecting Gurley to be the more valuable back come opening kick off.
Rookies With Big Expectations
Following the recent trend of maximizing RB’s rookie contracts, the discussion shifts to which rookie’s will end up providing the best fantasy ROI and who will appear simply as fools gold? The challenge in identifying these backs has been that it’s not necessarily who goes first that determines who finishes first. Opportunity is king in fantasy sports, and players like Philip Lindsey and Raheem Mostert are proof that points come from every tier.
Players like Jonathan Taylor and J.K. Dobbins have huge potential, but also find themselves in backfields featuring pretty good backs in Marlon Mack and Mark Ingram. D’Andre Swift? He’ll fight for touches with Kerryon Johnson. Would I balk at drafting any of these three backs? Not particularly, but I may have an easier decision drafting Clyde Edwards-Helaire or Ke’Shawn Vaughn simply because they have less competition for touches from elite backs and were drafted by teams that have higher end offenses.
It’s important to watch the training camp and pre-season position battles to see who is moving up or down in the rankings, but the rookies look poised to succeed again in 2020.
Early 2020 Running Back Rankings
- Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers
- Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
- Saquon Barkley, New York Giants
- Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints
- Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings
- Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans
- Josh Jacobs, Los Vegas Raiders
- Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars
- Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals
- Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns
- Todd Gurley, Atlanta Falcons
- Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers
- Melvin Gordon, Denver Broncos
- Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs
- Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers
- Kenyan Drake, Arizona Cardinals
- David Johnson, Houston Texans
- James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers
- Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles
- David Montgomery, Chicago Bears
- Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills
- Le’Veon Bell, New York Jets
- Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams
- Mark Ingram, Baltimore Ravens
- Raheem Mostert, San Francisco 49ers
- Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts
- Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns
- Sony Michel, New England Patriots
- Derrius Guice, Washington Redskins
- Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- J.K. Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens
- Jordan Howard, Miami Dolphins
- D’Andre Swift, Detroit Lions
- Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions
- Phillip Lindsay, Denver Broncos
- Marlon Mack, Indianapolis Colts
- Damien Williams, Kansas City Chiefs
- Ronald Jones, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Matt Brieda, San Francisco 49ers
The Dr. is finally in! With professional sports finally looking to resume it’s scheduled programming in the face of the COVID crisis, the time is now for us to resume our fantasy commentary. It’s been a fantastic off season in terms of NFL news, and the QB position has been one of the biggest talking points for weeks. Between the QB’s changing uniforms and rookies taking starting jobs without having seen an NFL snap, the position is one that is ripe for turnover.
TB Squared – Tom Brady heads to Tampa Bay
It was one of the off seasons biggest story lines as Brady, after 19 years as the Patriots starting QB, has left the confines of Gillette Stadium and has put on the burnt orange of the Buccaneers. With the twilight of his career looming, he couldn’t have asked for a better glut of weapons than what he received in the move. Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, O.J. Howard, and fellow Pats cast off Rob Gronkowski give Brady the best set of receives he’s had in years (and likely ever had at one time). The question now is can he turn back the clock and be productive in a fantasy sense?
2020 Rookie Class: Joe Burrow or Tua?
The 2020 rookie class was solid from a quarterback perspective, but outside of Burrow and Tagovailoa, there’s not much expectations in 2020. We fully expect Burrow to step in as the week 1 starter in Cincinnati, but how much he’s asked to do, and how well that patchwork offensive line can protect him, may be what limits him in fantasy terms.
Tua Tagovailoa, on the other hand, may not be asked to start out of the gates, but it’s less about his skill set and more about his recovery from the hip injury that ended his college career. Miami was gambling on the former, and most reports are positive in terms of his recovery, so it may work out in their favor. Should he beat out Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen for the starting job, he may be the better of the two QB’s in 2020, although expectations shouldn’t be too high for either.
Passing The Torch: Jackson and Mahomes Lead the Pack
For a long while, familiar names sat at the top of the QB pecking order. While Brady, Brees, and Rodgers are still in the conversation, it’s clear that Patrick Mahones and Lamar Jackson are forcing their way into the upper echelon of fantasy QBs. The questions surrounding Jackson’s durability and style of play will persist, but he seems to be the exception to the rule. Can players like Drew Lock, Dwayne Haskins, Gardner Minshew, and Daniel Jones make the jump in 2020 as well? It’s possible, but the depth at the position is certainly something to behold.
First Impression: Power Rankings
The exercise is entirely academic; QB’s are doing what they can to prepare but we have very little evidence to base our rankings on. These rankings will certainly change in the coming weeks, but every final list starts with a raw draft. This is that first draft.
- Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City
- Lamar Jackson, Baltimore
- Russell Wilson, Seattle
- Deshaun Watson, Houston
- Drew Brees, New Orleans
- Matt Ryan, Atlanta
- Dak Prescott, Dallas
- Kyler Murray, Arizona
- Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay
- Josh Allen, Buffalo
- Tom Brady, Tampa Bay
- Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee
- Carson Wentz, Philadelphia
- Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh
- Kirk Cousins, Minnesotta
- Baker Mayfield, Cleveland
- Matthew Stafford, Detroit
- Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
- Derek Carr, Las Vegas
- Daniel Jones, New York Giants
- Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco
- Drew Lock, Denver
- Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville
- Nick Foles, Chicago
- Joe Burrow, Cincinnati
- Philip Rivers, Indianapolis
- Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina
- Cam Newton, New England
- Sam Darnold, New York Jets
- Tyrod Taylor, Los Angeles Chargers
- Dwayne Haskins, Washington
- Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami
- Justin Hebert, Los Angeles Chargers
- Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis
- Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago
- Jarrett Stidham, New England
- Marcus Mariota, Las Vegas,
- Tua Tagavailoa, Miami
- Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia
- Jameis Winston, New Orleans
Week 4 wasn’t our finest week, but we had a few solid picks and were in the money in one our leagues (nothing major but it keeps us at around .500 for cashes).
- $$$: Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens ($7,100)
- After allowing 20+ points through two weeks, the Pittsburgh defense has played two excellent games against opposing quarterbacks, but we feel that this trend will revert in week 5. Jackson has shown the ability to play within the pocket, while using his legs to supplement a surprising passing game. In this divisional rivalry, I see the Ravens taking it handily, and Jackson performing very well.
- $$: Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($6,200)
- While New Orleans ranks 30th in points allowed to QB’s, it has been a tale of two defenses, with Houston and Seattle balling out in weeks 1 and three, and Goff and Prescott managing less than 25 points combined (with Dak’s 6 points being a low last week). Still, the emergence of Chris Godwin has turned the passing game into a lethal weapon, and Ronald Jones new found efficiency is helping to keep defenses honest. It may not be as high a scoring affair as it would be with Brees, but it should be Winston that benefits from a sub par passing defense.
- $: Teddy Bridgewater, New Orleans Saints ($5,200)
- While he’s been more of a game manager through three games, he’s been efficient regardless, completing over 70% of his passes over the previous two weeks. The Bucs offense has been scoring in bunches, and if it goes to the air (and I believe it will) he has the weapons in Thomas and Kamara to post points without having to do much of the work himself. Considering the Tampa defense has allowed quite a bit of scoring, I expect Bridgewater to be an absolute value in DFS this week.
- $$$: David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals ($7,500)
- Johnson’s volume has saved him from a bit of a difficult start to the season, as he’s drawn three difficult matchups in a row, running to the tune of nearly 3 yards per carry during that time. This week he gets a last place Bengals rushing defense that’s allowed no fewer than 21 points in PPR formats to opposing backs. This could be the turnaround game for the former 2,000 rusher as we expect that volume to remain constant.
- $$: James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers ($6,200)
- Life with Mason Rudolph was one where the ball rarely went down field, and Conner managed to turn a rough day on the ground into a very productive day as a dump off safety value for Rudolph. With Baltimore a very real threat to get up early, Conner could again be a heavy part of the passing game as the Steelers coaching staff didn’t seem comfortable taking the reigns off their back up signal caller
- $: James White, New England Patriots ($5,000)
- The last time we saw the Patriots, it was against a Bills team that bottled them up all day, but coming into a juicy match up against a Colt McCoy led Washington team, the Pats look to bounce back in a big way. Rex Burkhead is out, Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon are dinged up, and Brady is going to have to look White’s way fairly often, making him a solid cheap play on Sunday.
- $$$: Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons ($7,700)
- Remember when Jones was considered a “can’t reach the end zone” receiver? Jones currently has four receiving TD’s through four weeks, and is still the best receiver in a passing attack that should put up points against Houston this week. The volume is there for Jones, who’s target share has been in the 8-12 targets per week. Start him with confidence if you’re looking for an expensive option for your team.
- $$: Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles ($5,900)
- The Eagles looked off last week, but Wentz tried over and over again to fit the ball to his star receiver. Against a Jets secondary that’s providing solid scoring to opposing fantasy receivers, he should again be a target magnet, and I expect him to have far better success this week.
- $: Dionte Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers ($4,400)
- When the season started, we had high expectations for Donte Moncrief and James Washington, but it looks like rookie receiver Dionte Johnson could be the peanut butter to Juju Smith-Schusters jelly in this offense thanks to an apparent level of comfort with backup made starter Mason Rudolph. As mentioned before, this offense has turned to a check down philosophy, and Johnson looks like he could fit the bill nicely.
- $$: Darren Waller, Oakland Raiders ($5,000)
- The raiders search for receiving weapons has seemed to provide the athletic tight end with extra opportunities so far, and a tough match up against a Bears defense that’s limited pretty much everyone but opposing tight ends from production looks like a solid play here.
- $: Tyler Eifert, Cincinatti Bengals ($3,300)
- Predicting anything in fantasy is difficult, but Arizona seems to love allowing opposing Tight Ends to score. While he’s been an afterthought through much of the season, a trip or two to the end zone shouldn’t be out of the question for the oft-injured tight end.
- Patriots D/ST ($4,300)
- Daily fantasy sites are starting to catch up to the Pats dominance against weak opponents, but against a third string QB and a Washington team that offers very little talent on offense, this could be another dominating performance for a defense that’s strung together several to start the season
- Titans D/ST ($3,000)
- If you’re looking for a cheaper option, the Titans defense has been excellent this year as well, and draws a Buffalo team that may not be 100% on Sunday. With Josh Allen having been knocked out of last Sunday’s contest, it should be interesting to see how he handles pressure this week.
The Dr’s DFS Team
- QB: Jameis Winston
- RB: James Conner
- RB: James White
- WR: Chris Godwin
- WR: Alshon Jeffery
- WR: Dionte Johnson
- TE: Darren Waller
- Flex: Sterling Shepard
- DST: Patriots D/ST
We were indisposed for our week 3 recap, but we had a solid week with some of our picks. We managed to win a few bucks in our own Daily lineup, so this week we’re hoping to really hit some home runs.
- $$$ – Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs ($7,500)
- Considering that Mahomes may be the easiest player to project this week against the 29th ranked Detroit Lions secondary, being at only $7,500 makes him an absolute value the position if you don’t mind spending the capital on a QB.
- $$ – Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks ($6,100)
- Only two players are scoring more points per week than Russell Wilson in 2019… Mahomes and Jackson. Unlike Jackson, who plays an underrated Browns secondary, Wilson is less expensive, and is facing the Arizona Cardinals (ranked 31st in the league against QB’s in fantasy). Wilson is a must start this week.
- $ – Daniel Jones, New York Giants ($5,300)
- Jones looked solid last week, and draws and even easier match-up in week 4 with the 30th ranked Washington Redskins coming to town. With the Giants feeling good about themselves for the first time in a long time, and a rushing attack that’s headlined by Wayne Gallman, it could be another surprising performance for the rookie from Duke.
- $$$ – Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers ($8,000)
- The news that Melvin Gordon is ending his hold out makes Ekeler a precarious roster player in season long leagues, but drawing a Miami defense that’s even worse against the run than it is against the pass means that Ekeler’s last week at the top of the teams depth chart should be a good one. Given his usage in the passing game, he’s fairly insulated against shifting game plans in the case of a blow out.
- $$ – Mark Ingram, Baltimore Ravens ($6,600)
- The buzz in Baltimore has centered on Lamar Jackson for much of the first quarter of the season, but that doesn’t mean teammate Mark Ingram hasn’t emerged as a bonafide RB1. Unlike their top 5 passing defense, Cleveland boasts the 29th worst defense against opposing running backs. Mark Ingram could be in for a monster week if the gameplan shifts towards the ground game, and we expect it should.
- $ – James White, New England Patriots ($4,900)
- He’s been pretty solid but tough to predict in his NFL career, but he’ll be featured more prominently against a tough divisional opponent thanks to injuries on the Patriots offensive line and Sony Michel’s early struggles. If Julian Edelman is out or limited, he could find himself as Brady’s third down safety blanket, and a dozen targets with a few in the red zone are a safe bet for the value.
- $$$ – Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers ($7,600)
- If it sounds like I’m all in on the Chargers this week, you’re right. The Miami connection is obvious, but it’s also important to note that Mike Williams is out this week, further forcing the Chargers to rely on their elite slot man. Allen could see a season high in targets this week, making him a value despite his cost.
- $$ – Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks ($6,300)
- Lockett has been excellent in PPR formats, so this is probably a better play in leagues that reward those extra points, but as the center piece of the Seahawks offense, and Russell Wilson’s resurgence, he could be in for a big day against a pretty average against opposing receivers.
- $ – D.J. Chark, Jacksonville Jaguars ($5,100)
- All aboard the Chark Train for at least one more week. Denver hasn’t been kind to opposing receivers, but the Minshew to Chark connection is a real one, and with the gunslinger mentality on full display last week, we expect the Jaguars to look down field a lot, which is Chark’s specialty. Until he slows down, there’s no reason to ignore him at the value he’s given most weeks.
- $$ – Darren Waller, Oakland Raiders ($5,200)
- Waller has been the Raiders most consistent passing game weapon, and against an Indy team that should be able to score against their defense, should be called on again to be an integral part of their game plan. The best part? He’s their best red zone weapon in the passing game, and I can see another handful of targets in the redzone, giving him an excellent chance to score in week 4.
- $ –Will Dissly, Seattle Seahawks ($3,600)
- The Seahawks look like the found an excellent pass catching tight end in Dissly, and he should be involved all day in week 4 again. While we do like Lockett to lead the team in targets, an TD or two isn’t out of the question against the worst team in the league against the TE position in Arizona.
- Patriots D/ST ($3,700) – A pick 6 and a muffed punt cost the Patriots a second straight shutout in week 3, and they draw a Buffalo team with an inexperienced signal caller and lack of depth at the skill positions. Averaging nearly 20 points at $3,700 is the kind of every-week decision that can’t be ignored.
- Jaguars D/ST ($3,700) – There’s not a lot of easy plays for D/ST’s this week, but the Jaguars secondary looked revitalized last week despite the Jalen Ramsey drama. With a Joe Flacco led offense that really hasn’t performed well, there’s a potential for multiple turnovers in this one.
The Doctor’s Team
- QB: Daniel Jones
- RB: Mark Ingram
- RB: James White
- WR: Keenan Allen
- WR: Tyler Lockett
- WR: D.J. Chark
- TE: Will Dissly
- Flex: Kenny Golladay
- D/ST: Patriots D/ST
Thoughts: The toughest choice was choosing between Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler, but the slightly lower cost and the potential return of Melvin Gordon have me leaning toward the high volume receiver here. That left me with a moderate amount for my flex, and I decided playing the down-field option on the team facing Kansas City is a fairly safe play despite Golladay’s up and down season so far. One could have made an argument for T.J. Hockenson against that KC defense that’s allowed a solid amount of points to tight ends, but I felt better with this lineup.
Last week we had a few solid picks but game scripts and injuries kept us from really hitting big. We aim to do better as the year wears on. Of course, it’s important to understand the purpose of this exercise. There are plenty of players we like on different teams, but our aim is to provide value at each tier, to help fill out the last few roster spots that you may have trouble with. Every roster will feature players from each; these are just the guys we like the most this week.
$$$: Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens ($7,000): I’m not too concerned about Mahomes failing to produce this week even against Baltimore’s D, but getting Jackson, who’s nearly kept pace with Mahomes as it is, is a better value this week. This one should turn into a shootout, so getting one of these guys as your “expensive” pick should pay dividends.
$$: Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons ($5,700): Inside, Matt Ryan has played his best football, and while they’re on the road, he draws a favorable match up against an Indy team that should allow him to score some points. I feel that Jacoby Brissett should be half way decent this week (more on that bellow), so both teams may be forced to score.
$: Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis Colts ($5,200): It seemed like all was lost when Andrew Luck announced his retirement, but Brissett has looked capable in his last few starts. While the red zone efficiency is likely going to come back to earth, this week against a high scoring Falcons team, he’ll be asked to do even more with injuries hampering his backfield.
$$$: Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints ($8,000): I entertained CMC here, but of the two elite backs who are operating without their QB’s, I trust the Teddy Bridewater to get Kamara the ball better than the situation in Carolina. Seattle’s defense has looked solid to this point, but Kamara is the kind of backfield asset who, outside of extenuating circumstances (last week anyone?) nearly always turns in fantasy performances.
$$: Mark Ingram, Baltimore Ravens ($5,700): While we may have expected Justice Hill to have a larger role in the Baltimore offense, it’s been largely the Mark Ingram show, and with a trip to Kansas City in the docket, he could be asked to play a larger role in the passing game. I’m not always keen on highlighting several players like this, but I expect Baltimore to surprise some folks today on offense.
$: Darwin Thompson, Kansas City Chiefs ($3,000): There was a point over the weekend when we weren’t sure if even LeSean McCoy would play, but even if McCoy is on the field, his lingering ankle issue should open the door for Darwin Thompson to see a real valuable role, if just for one week. If Baltimore can keep pace with Kansas City, then expect a high scoring game for this backfield, one way or another.
$$$: Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys ($7,500): Amari Cooper has continued to show us that he’s a far better receiver than his time in Oakland led us to believe. This week, he’ll shoulder a larger burden with Michael Gallup dinged up, and the Miami Defense has yielded a ton of points to opposing teams.
$$: Tyler Boyd, Cincinatti Bengals ($6,500): Speaking of volume, Tyler Boyd has been a target vacuum, seeing a ton in his usual role in the short and intermediate passing game. Buffalo’s defense is a bit better than they get credit for, but with John Ross showing he can take the top off, I like Boyd to see a ton of targets again on Sunday.
$: D.K. Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks ($4,700): Metcalf has looked every bit of the downfield specialist we thought he’d be when he was drafted early by the Seahawks. While Tyler Lockett remains the teams top target, down the field and in the end zone, Metcalf will feature heavily. At that price point, I feel confident that a trip the end zone and a big catch or two is going to give us plenty of value.
$$: Evan Engram, New York Giants ($5,200): The guy has been one of the two or three best TE’s in terms of fantasy scoring (as we expected) and I don’t see that slowing down any time soon. While you may feel concerned with Daniel Jones under center this week, I expect him to be at least replacement level for Eli Manning, and if he plays even a modicum better, then Engram could have another monster week.
$: Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers ($3,700): The news that Cam Newton is going to miss Sunday’s game certainly put damper on the receivers group, but of all the Panther’s pass catchers, Olsen should lose the least amount of work with the backup QB. Arizona ranks dead last in the NFL this season in allowing points to tight ends, and while Olsen carries a question mark of health into Sunday’s match up, if he plays, I like him to produce despite Kyle Allen starting under center.
$$: Patriots D/ST ($3,800): Playing Dallas’ D/ST against the Dolphins may sound like a no brainer, but with an elite Patriots defense costing about $500 of your balance less, and facing off against a third string QB for the Jets, I have to go with the Pats defense in week 3.
$: San Francisco 49ers D/ST ($3,000): There’s a lot of value with D/ST’s as they all inhabit the same airspace in terms of cost, but the 9er’s defense has been scoring with regularity to this point in the season, and draws a banged up Steeler’s offense at home. With Mason Rudolph under center and the health of running back Jame’s Conner up in the air, there’s a chance that the San Fran D could be one of the most valuable starts this week.
The Doctor’s Lineup
- QB: Matt Ryan
- RB: Mark Ingram
- RB: Darwin Thompson
- WR: Marquise Brown
- WR: Amari Cooper
- WR: D.K. Metcalf
- TE: Evan Engram
- Flex: Alvin Kamara
- D/ST: Patriots D/ST
Notes: I had to make a few adjustments just to fit the roster under the cap. I do like Marquise Brown this week against KC’s defense, especially if KC can put up points. While there’s some risk in playing Darwin Thompson this week, his price is basically free and in that potential high scoring match up, that’s the kind of risk that can pay off in spades in Daily contests.
We apologize for the delay in our waiver targets article, as Gardner Minshew played on Thursday and would likely have been a target had we got this out yesterday. That being said, it’s important to note that the QB position has become that much more shallow with the injuries suffered to Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger in week 2, so we’re going to have to go deep.
Jimmy Garoppolo, San Fransisco 49ers (45.4% owned)
- If you’re in a deeper league, he may not be available to you, but in more than half of ESPN leagues, Jimmy G is still floating around on waivers, and we’re not sure why. While the sheen had certainly come off him after the season ending injury left us with questions, the truth is that he still is at the helm of a Kyle Shanahan offense that is even more pass heavy with the loss of Tevin Coleman to injury. He has an excellent group of pass catchers, highlighted by TE George Kittle but filled to bursting with young guys like Deebo Samuel, Dante Pettis, and Marquise Goodwin. He’s trending up and won’t be available in many league if he has another solid week.
Andy Dalton, Cincinatti Bengals (17.8% owned)
- Dalton has long been maligned in the fantasy community, but we think he is finally trending up thanks to a change at head coach (see ya Marvin Lewis!) and the emergence of receiving weapons beyond A.J. Green. John Ross has been an excellent stand in and alleviates some of the fear that Dalton has very few high end pass catchers to through to, and we’ve seen Dalton perform well through two weeks. With a lack of quality passers, and a potential need, he’s likely available in most leagues this week.
Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis Colts (17.7% owned)
- When Andrew Luck retired, Colts fans and fantasy owners saw the news as “the sky is falling”. What we’ve seen through two weeks is that Jacoby Brissett may not be elite like we expect Luck to be, but he has plenty of weapons to succeed as a fantasy asset in limited exposure. With a potential shoot up on deck with the Atlanta Falcons, he could be a nice streaming option this week, and for Brees and Big Ben owners, a valuable addition to get you through the doldrums.
Nyheim Hines, Indianaplis Colts (45.9% owned) and Jordan Wilkins (0.8% owned)
- It’s not a given that Marlon Mack is going to miss time, but with his injury limiting him this week, it’s worth monitoring. While Hines is the name I’d rather add with a match up coming against the high flying Falcons, Wilkins isn’t a terrible look in deeper formats if you’re needing someone who can provide some assistance, and if you’re a Mack owner who wants to mitigate disaster if he doesn’t play, it’s likely that Wilkins is floating around on your waivers.
Raheem Mostert, San Fransisco 49ers (39.3% owned)
- It’s clear that Matt Brieda is the closest thing to a bell cow this offense has, but Kyle Shanahan loves using all of his weapons, and Mostert has looked good in limited touches. With an uptick in rushing attempts last week, we expect Mostert to float around 10-15 touches with a few pass catches sprinkled in. He’s not an elite option by any stretch, but he has plenty of flex value if you’re searching for value on waivers.
Jamaal Williams, Green Bay Packers (13.6% owned)
- I may not agree with Matt Lafleur’s assessment of the Packers backfield (I think Aaron Jones is a better back), but it’s time to take Jamaal Williams usage seriously after the comments made over the last few days. It’s clear they want to involve Williams in the offense, and expecting 12+ touches a week may not make him an obvious start, but it makes him a strong flex option in a potentially very good offense, and if Aaron Jones injury issues flare up, he becomes an excellent back end RB2 option at the cost of a deep roster spot.
Randall Cobb, Dallas Cowboys (28.9% Owned)
- Cobb looked pretty good already in this Dallas offense, but an injury to Michael Gallup could open up more opportunities for the shifty slot man to get possession work. Devin Smith is a popular add today, but I like the veteran Cobb as my waiver add at this point.
Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers (20.5% owned)
- It sure seems like I’m high on the 49ers this year, but the truth is that Samuel is being completely overlooked after being taken in the second round of the draft. Dante Pettis’ health has kept him from being impactful, and Marquise Goodwin’s role as a downfield threat certainly doesn’t make him a high volume receiver. Samuel has played well through two weeks and, while he may settle in as a WR4 type player, he shouldn’t be owned in fewer than a quarter of ESPN leagues.
Philip Dorsett, New England Patriots (5.3% owned)
- At first blush, this offense is so full of play makers it’s easy to see why Dorsett has become available in 95% of leagues. But with the buzz around Antonio Brown growing louder, and a week one performance that highlights his usefulness in this Patriots offense, I could see Dorsett being a big part of this offense going forward. If Antonio Brown is forced to miss games, either due to being released or being placed on the Commissioners Exempt List, he’ll be snatched up in a ton of leagues, so getting in front of this may save you the trouble.
Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys (37.5% owned)
- I’ll admit I was in the “wait and see” camp on the un-retired future hall of famer, but despite not having major target share, Witten resumed his role as safety blanket for Dak Prescott, making big catches, and seeing the end zone twice already. With Gallup on the shelf (as mentioned earlier) it could be more of the same going forward at a position that’s seen several high profile assets go down to injury.
Will Dissly, Seattle Seahawks (21.4% owned)
- This one may feel like low hanging fruit, but with a passing attack that featured little in the way of red zone threats, Dissly has emerged as a premier option in that area of the field. I don’t expect him to put up top 10 numbers regularly, but if you’re a Henry or Njoku owner that hasn’t had success elsewhere, Dissly may get you through a few weeks without a huge step back.
Chris Herndon, New York Jets (7% owned)
- Yes, the Jets are a mess, and Herndon still has two games to go on his four game suspension to start the season, but if you’re in need, and have the roster to hold on to him, Herndon could be one of those mid season pick ups that helps you achieve fantasy greatness. He’d return (likely) after Sam Darnold comes back from his bout with mono, and he’s become the teams best red zone weapon outside of Le’Veon Bell the moment he walks on the field. He’s a deep add, and there’s always some risk putting a player on your bench you can’t use for 3 more weeks (they have a week 4 bye) but he could be sneaky good when he returns.
Streaming Options D/ST
- Tampa Bay D/ST vs. New York Giants (4.7% owned) Tampa’s D has played pretty well against the run this year, and forcing rookie QB Daniel Jones to throw the football may lead to some interesting results. Even if Saquon Barkely is more efficient on the ground, I expect Tampa to force a few turnovers with the rookie under the lights for the first time.
- San Francisco 49ers D/ST vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (32.1% owned) The Steelers are reeling from the loss of their QB for the season, and with James Conner not 100% healthy and backup Mason Rudolph starting, the 49ers are in a prime spot to make noise on Sunday. They aren’t a season long D/ST but for streaming purposes, they could be a helpful add if you’re looking at a situation like Baltimore vs. KC.
Week 1 saw a handful of guys we picked go off, most notably Lamar Jackson, although we could have done a bit better. Week ones are always unpredictable, so we’ll take it with a grain of salt. Below are our favorite picks, in the format we’ve established from week 1.
$$$: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs ($7,500) – Against what we considered a solid defense, and without his top reciever for much of the contest, Mahomes did MVP like things, hanging 300+ yards and three TD’s against the Jaguars. Oakland should provide just as many opportunities for Mahomes to rack up points.
$$: Tom Brady, New England Patriots ($6,500) – Defy father time yet again? Check… Acquire one of this generations best receiving talents (despite off the field issues)? Check… Draw what may amount to the worst team in the NFL? Check. This week against Miami, Brady should once again look like a legit top 5 QB.
$: Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions ($5,200) – If you’re looking for a discount, Stafford may be your man. The emergence of T.J. Hockenson only solidifies what may be one of the best groups of receiving weapons he’s had since the departure of Calvin Johnson. Given that the Chargers can score with the best of them, it’s likely he’ll be called on to attempt quite a few passes on Sunday.
$$$: Saquon Barkley, New York Giants ($9,200) – Any of the top three options available (including Zeke and Kamara) are solid options, but drawing the Buffalo Bills should provide plenty of opportunities for Barkley to improve on the low volume/high efficiency start he had to the season.
$$: Sony Michel, New England Patriots ($6,200) – The Patriots offense drawing the Miami Dolphins is an obvious feather in his cap, but the news that James White will miss week 2 action following the birth of his child leaves the door wide open for Michel to assume a much larger workload than usual. If the Patriots get ahead early, they could pound the ball late.
$: Chris Thompson, Washington Redskins ($3,900) – The news that Derrius Guice has been placed on IR means the backfield will see a solid dose of Chris Thompson, especially on passing downs. It may be too early to tag Dallas as a top offense, but if they’re scoring, it’ll be Thompson, not Peterson, with the big day.
$$$: Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints ($8,000) – Don’t be scared off by the Rams passing defense after one week, this is a high scoring Saints offense with a lot to prove after having their season ended last year against this very Rams team thanks to an egregious call. Thomas is going to see a ton of targets every week, and while we have concerns about Brees lasting all season at the top of the mountain, we’re confident he’ll be good early on.
$$: Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams ($6,400) – He may have had a disappointing week last week, with only 15 PPR points, but his 13 targets should set your mind at ease regarding his usage. As mentioned above, this weeks match up should produce one of the more exciting games of the week, and Woods should see another healthy dose of targets as Goff may not have time to find his down the field targets with the Saints defense getting after him.
$: D.J. Chark, Jacksonville Jaguars ($4,500) – They say backups throw to backups, and Gardner Minshew certainly looked Chark’s way several times after Foles left the Jaguars week one matchup with an injury. This is an offense that has never really established a top receiver, so there’s as much of a chance that Chark continues his torrid pace against a Houston team that could force Minshew to throw it a lot all game.
$$$: Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs ($7,300) – I’m not super confident in either Kelce or Kittle to perform consistently this week as both draw defenses that aren’t excellent for fantasy purposes for TE’s, but Kelce should be involved heavily regardless thanks to Hills extended absence. Last week it was Watkins, but it could very easily be Kelce with several TD grabs this week.
$$: Evan Engram, New York Giants ($5,200) – There seems to be a curse on the Giants receiving group, and Engram stands to gain as much as Barkley thanks to a passing game that will continue to siphon through his hands. With Shepard entering concussion protocol, we can’t be certain who will line up beside Barkley and Engram this week.
$: Darren Waller, Oakland Raiders ($3,300) – Waller saw a healthy dose of action in week one thanks to the departure of Antonio Brown, so expecting him to be involved in what should be a game of catch up isn’t hard to imagine. Kansas City is going to put up points, and Carr is going to have to use his athletic tight end if they’re going to hope to keep pace.
$$: Patriots D/ST vs. Miami ($3,700) – Could the Pats lay a dud like they did last year against the Detroit Lions? Sure, but this defense looks legit at all three levels, and Miami is fielding a disgruntled J.V. roster. Pats should win handily, and I expect a few turnovers as well.
$: Seahawks D/ST vs. Pittsburgh ($2,900) – Are the Patriots really a top 5 defense this year? Maybe, but there seems to be something wrong with the Pittsburgh offense, and Seattle’s defense isn’t anything to sneeze at either. With their smash mouth, grind you down offense, they’re just as likely to keep that Pittsburgh offense off balance, and hold them to another dud in week 2.
- QB: Matt Stafford
- RB: Sony Michel
- RB: Chris Thompson
- WR: Michael Thomas
- WR: Robert Woods
- WR: D.J. Chark
- TE: Darren Waller
- Flex: Alvin Kamara
- Patriots D/ST
Every Friday we’ll examine the ongoing injury concerns that may effect your fantasy teams this weekend. We will ignore players who’s injury designation has not changed from the previous week, instead bringing our focus to changes in status that will help you make decisions when setting your roster.
Hunter Henry, TE – Los Angeles Chargers: It’s a fractured knee that’s going to sideline Henry for the next 4-6 weeks. It seems that, despite the obvious talent, Henry needs to be faded until he can prove he can stay healthy for any length of time.
Juju Smith-Schuster, WR – Pittsburgh Steelers: There was some concern after Smith-Schuster was limited at practice on Wednesday, but he was a full participant yesterday, leading me to believe he’ll be a full go for Sunday’s match up against Seattle.
Joe Mixon, RB – Cincinnati Bengals: The ankle sprain suffered in week 1 has kept Mixon from practicing this week, although reports mentioned he worked on the Bengal’s rehab field. At this point, the best case scenario is he’s limited if he does play. Gio Bernard is a better play at this point.
Derrius Guice, RB – Washington Redskins: It’s a tough blow for the oft-injured Redskins back, as his most recent meniscus tear will have him sidelined for some time. There hasn’t been a designation on how long he’ll be out, but if Adrian Peterson is available in your league, he’s a solid backup option for a few weeks.
Tevin Coleman, RB – San Francisco 49ers: The ankle injury he suffered last week was of the high-ankle variety, and he’s slated to miss a few weeks as he recovers. Matt Brieda should assume the lion’s share of work, with Raheem Mostert offering very little upside as a change of pace back.
Sterling Shepard, WR – New York Giants: It’s been a tough year for the Giants receiving group, and it looks like week 2 isn’t going to get any better. After suffering a concussion, Shepard remains in the protocol and is expected to miss at least this coming week. With the depth chart looking thin, Engram and Barkley are volume plays in most formats, including DFS.
Mike Williams, WR – Los Angeles Chargers: The Chargers big play receiver left week 1 with a knee injury, but as the week progressed, the team expressed concern over William’s availability this Sunday. While there’s no update on whether he’ll play or not, I suggest looking elsewhere if you have someone who can slot into your starting roster. Even if he’s on the field, I question how effective he’ll be if he’s not 100%.
Jordan Reed, TE – Washington Redskins: Reed just can’t seem to stay healthy, and he looks like he’ll be a toss up to play on Sunday thanks to lingering concussion issues. Vernon Davis turned back the clock last year with a solid performance, so don’t expect the Redskins to rush Reed back to action given his history with these kinds of injuries.
Keke Coutee, WR – Houston Texans: After missing week one due to an ankle injury, it appears Coutee is on track to play in week three after practicing in full on Wednesday. If he does play, it would most likely impact Will Fuller’s production, as he’s been limited this week as well (though not due to injury per team sources).
Tyler Lockett, WR – Seattle Seahawks: After missing the first few practices of the week, Lockett returned on Wednesday in a limited fashion. His status for Sunday is up in the air, but we expect him to play. How effective he’ll be, is the question, and D.K. Metcalf could be a solid play this week.
Trey Burton, TE – Chicago Bears: The groin injury that sidelined Burton from the Bears week 1 contest against the Packers seems to be getting better, as Burton did practice this week, albeit in a limited fashion. The Bears offense looked dysfunctional outside of Allen Robinson, and they could be hoping for a quick recovery so Burton can get on the field. This is one to watch on Sunday morning.
Le’Veon Bell, RB – New York Jets: After having some shoulder pain, Le’Veon Bell had an MRI this week to ensure there was no structural damage. Based on the results (the MRI returned no issues) and his social media posts since then, it seems Bell should be fine to go this weekend.