12:27 PM GMT
Matthew BerryESPN Senior Writer
- • Senior Fantasy analyst for ESPN
• Member, FSWA and FSTA Halls of Fame
• Best-selling author of “Fantasy Life”
Injury bug? No,Week 2 of the 2020 NFL seasonwas not bitten by the injury bug. This was injury Godzilla, laying waste to the dreams offantasy footballmanagers everywhere. The carnage stretched from New York to San Francisco, from top overall picks to sleepers, from running backs to defensive ends. Matthew Berry’s Week 3 Love/Hate column is here, though, to assure you all is not lost.
“These are the times that try men’s souls.”
When Thomas Paine wrote those famous words in 1776, he was, I am almost positive, referring to his 12-team non-PPR keeper league with his buddies from Valley Forge.
But the more things change, the more they stay the same. Despite being more than 200 years old, Paine’s words ring truer than ever.
We’ve had to piece together teams these first two weeks as the pass-catchers of our teams —Chris Godwin,George Kittle,A.J. Brown,Kenny Golladay,Jamison Crowder, Sterling Shepard, Deebo Samuel,Jalen ReagorandJack Doyle— all have missed at least one of the first two games or will miss this week.
We’ve stared in horror as viable running backs sift through our fingers like we tried to pick up sand with our fingers spread apart, asMiles Sanders,Raheem Mostert, Le’Veon Bell,James Conner,Phillip Lindsay,James WhiteandTevin Colemanall missed at least one of the first two games or they will not play this weekend. And it’s not looking good forCam AkersandMalcolm Brown, either.
We pounded the table and screamed at the sky when first-rounders starting going down. It started withMichael Thomasand then, this past week, the consensus No. 1 pick in fantasy, in many ways the face of fantasy football for so many of us,Christian McCaffrey, gets hurt and is expected to miss four to six weeks with a high ankle sprain.
These are the times that try men’s and women’s souls, indeed. And as I knelt there on the floor, staring at the tatters of my teams, trying to make sense of what the cruel mistress named fantasy football has put me through in just the first two weeks, the bottom fell out to a depth I never imagined.
Out for the year.
A consensus top-four pick in fantasy football this year, Barkley was drafted either first or second overall in a whopping 55% of the millions upon millions of ESPN leagues this season. More than half of our leagues have seen one of their top two picks lost for the season, with only a game and a half to show for it. Add in that the other top pick, McCaffrey, is gone for potentially half the regular season of fantasy and it’s enough to make even the toughest fantasy player think about calling it a day. What’s the point, you think? Am I really going to sift through the ruins of waivers and try to talk myself intoFrank Gore? Hey, he’s a starter, right?
I was despondent. Depressed. Could I go on, I wondered? Did I have it in me?
And while I pondered that, I emailed Dan Bohm, ESPN Fantasy’s director of product management. This has happened once before, you see. In 2017,David Johnsonwas the consensus No. 1 pick. And he played one game before he was lost for the season.
The No. 1 overall pick.
And people got one game out of him.
So I had Dan go back and look through the records of the millions of leagues we had in 2017.
And in 2017, 6.78% of the users who drafted David Johnson No. 1 overall …. WON THEIR LEAGUE.
If you think about it, in an ESPN standard 10-team league, you start with a 10% chance of winning it all. So you’re telling me people who lost their No. 1 pick in the very first week of the season were able to pull it out 6.78% of the time? That’s not ideal, but you know what? It’s not nothing.
So I started watching. And listening. I spent days on YouTube, watching every motivational speech from the movies I could find. Looking for inspiration. Looking for something to speak to me, to give me the strength to go on.
And I found it. I found it once in 2017, and I have found it again.
So today, brothers and sisters, I want to share it with you.
With apologies to the cast, crew and especially the screenwriters of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Miracle” and “We Are Marshall,” I’d like you to listen up.
Because when I look around at all of you, you know what I see? Losers. I mean, like, people who have lost players. And we have, man, we have. All of us. Our running backs, our wide receivers, our early draft picks and our late-round sleepers. Sometimes fantasy football takes more than it gives. But not today.
Today, fantasy football has given us a chance.
A chance at greatness.
Great moments are born from great opportunity.
And that’s what you have here, gang.
Anyone can win when they luck intoLamar Jacksonlate. When they have the lowest points against the whole season. When they play the person who losesDalvin Cookin the final last year. Any player can do that.
But the person who can win his or her league after losing a No. 1 or No. 2 overall pick in Week 2? That person?
That person is a legend.
Now, you look at the waiver wire and that is the final resting place for your players.
This is our past, friends. This is where we have been. This is how we got here. This is who we are. Today, I want to talk about your opponents. They’re healthier, deeper, have better matchups and in the projections, they’re just better. And they know it, too.
But I wanna tell you something that they don’t know. They don’t know your heart. I do. I’ve seen it. I have heard it. I have read it. You have shown it to me. You have shown your leaguemates, by still researching, still reading, watching, listening. You have shown yourself just exactly who you are in your heart.
So when you take that virtual field this week, you’ve gotta lay everything on the line. You will be checking your phone at dinner, in the shower, you’ll sleep with it, ready to jump at the first alert. You’ll wake up at 4 a.m. to make a free-agent claim so you don’t lose your waiver priority. You will work every trade angle until the wee hours, exhausting every possibility. You will research from the soles of your feet, with every ounce of blood you’ve got in your body, laying it on the line until the final whistle blows.
And when you do that, you cannot lose. If you play like that you cannot be defeated. You understand me? How you play this year, from this moment on, is how you will be remembered.
This is your opportunity to rise from these ashes and grab glory.
This is your chance at greatness.
This is your chance to be a legend.
And those don’t come along very often.
So what are you waiting for?
Quarterbacks I love in Week 3
Kyler Murray,Arizona Cardinals, vs. Lions
ESPN projected points:22.0
You won’t worry with Murray! I’m getting highler on Kyler! If it’s fantasy points you curry, time to start Kyler Murray! Yeah, the only thing missing from Kyler Murray’s season so far is a great catchphrase. Clearly we are still in workshopping mode. He’s an obvious name, of course, but he makes the love list this week because I have him as top-two play overall, the highest I have ever had him and ahead of, yes,Patrick Mahomes. The fourth-best QB in fantasy so far this season, Murray has at least 25 completions and eight rush attempts in each game this season. He also leads all quarterbacks in rushing yards and is second in rushing touchdowns behind onlyCam Newton. Numbers, eye test, everything is trending to the positive for the second-year quarterback. And now for theDetroit Lions, for whom everything is trending to the … well, where Lions football always trends. Matt Patricia’s defense has given up five touchdown passes in its past five quarters of play and 38 total since the start of last season — third most in the league. Detroit vs. Everybody? In fantasy, it’s Every QB vs. Detroit.
Josh Allen,Buffalo Bills, vs. Rams
ESPN projected points:20.2
Two weeks into the season, Allen is QB2. “So what — he’s played two bad teams!” you say. That he has, I say. And stop yelling at your screen. I can’t hear you. But he has been on the love list for two consecutive weeks and he stays on, even facing a good team where he’ll get chased around byAaron Donald. Here’s why you need to get on board that Allen is legit and not just a guy dominating weaklings who will then hear an inspiration speech and come back to beat him.
2019: 28.8 attempts/game, 58.8% completion, 6.7 YPA
2020: 40.5 attempts/game, 70.4% completion, 9.0 YPA
We know all about Allen’s high fantasy floor due to his legs, but the increase in passing volume — and efficiency — gives him a massive fantasy ceiling, too. He’s more accurate, and the addition of wide receiverStefon Diggshas been a hit. Even if Allen doesn’t keep throwing 40-plus times a game, even a modest increase over his 2019 passing numbers makes him a top-10 fantasy QB every week, regardless of opponent.
Gardner Minshew,Jacksonville Jaguars, vs. Dolphins
ESPN projected points:19.9
Minshew is apparently taking hisbeer campaignabout deserving to be the No. 1 pick in fantasy this season very seriously. He posted 20-plus fantasy points and three passing TDs in each of his first two games. Currently a top-12 QB on the season, he has all the ingredients to continue to be a fantasy star. Pass-happy offense, nice rushing floor (sixth in rush attempts and yards among all quarterbacks since the start of last season), a terrible defense, and he leads the league in Big Mustache Energy, which absolutely should be a thing. Even if wide receiverDJ Charkmisses this game (he’s questionable as of this writing), I love the matchup with a Dolphins squad that has given up the most fantasy points to quarterbacks and just ruled out starting cornerByron Jones. I love Minshew to keep his fantasy managers — and Bud Light brand managers — feeling good on Thursday night.
Matthew Berry explains that Gardner Minshew going up against the Dolphins’ defense gives fantasy managers a better shot at winning than Deshaun Watson, who will be facing the Steelers.
Others receiving votes
Remember back when teams were extra protective of rookie quarterbacks and limited their throwing?Joe Burrowand the Bengals are top five in the NFL in both overall and red zone pass percentage. Cincinnati’s line should be able to protect him on Sunday against an Eagles defense that is 19th in pressure percentage so far this season. When not pressured, Burrow has completed 66.2% of his passes with two touchdowns and no interceptions. … Refuse to believe thatRyan Tannehillis a real thing at your own peril. Nine straight games with two-plus passing touchdowns and now he gets 11 players Minnesota generously describes as a “defense.” Tannehill is a great streaming option for Week 3. … Atlanta allowed the top-scoring quarterback in fantasy in both Weeks 1 and 2. That means those in deeper leagues, two-QB leagues or the QB-desperate might wanna hold your nose and play the Falcons’ Week 3 opponent,Mitchell Trubisky. He’s actually been decent this season; don’t look now but the Bears are 2-0 and Trubisky is averaging 18 fantasy points a game. … I was mean to the Lions’ defense, so let’s be nice to their quarterback.Matthew Staffordhad big numbers against the Cardinals last season — 385 yards, three scores — and he should have nice numbers assuming wide receiverKenny Golladayreturns in what should be a high-scoring game versus an Arizona defense that has yielded a whopping 41 passing TDs since the start of last season.
Quarterbacks I hate in Week 3
Long story short:No one.
Short story long:Do I love Houston’sDeshaun Watsonon the road against a Steelers defense that brings a ton of pressure and has held opposing quarterbacks to a league-low completion rate? I don’t. But come on, it’s Deshaun Watson. He can explode against anyone. Same withMatt Ryanagainst a Bears pass defense that has been outstanding so far this season. But every Falcons game has been a shootout and this game is in Atlanta, where Ryan has traditionally excelled. Ryan could easily toss multiple touchdowns. As could the Rams’Jared Goffagainst the Bills. Not running out to put him in my lineups considering he struggles with pressure and Buffalo is eighth in pressure rate (30.2%) since the start of 2019, but it’s also unlikely Goff gets completely shut down. And I’m obviously not going to put Kansas City’sPatrick Mahomeson the Hate list this week — or any week ever — but he has maybe his toughest matchup of the season on Monday night in Baltimore. The point is, the candidates for this week’s “QB Hate” aren’t guys where I hate their matchup but rather guys where I don’t love them as much as I normally do. Maybe that’s a cop-out, but I’d rather be honest with guys and just own it rather than try to force a few “QB Hates” that I don’t really believe in just because that’s the column name. Mahomes, Watson and Ryan are lower than they normally are this week, but assuming they are your only QB I’d probably still start them all depending on your league settings, etc. As always, check my ranks, which are updated all the way up until kickoff at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.
Field Yates advises fantasy managers who drafted Deshaun Watson to hang tight for one more week because the Texans’ schedule gets easier.
Running backs I love in Week 3
Miles Sanders,Philadelphia Eagles, vs. Bengals
ESPN projected points:19.2
Sanders’ managers have been through it so far this season. They risked an early-round draft pick in the preseason on a guy with a limited NFL track record in a crowded backfield … and then he missed Week 1 to injury. PANIC TIME! But then Week 2 came along, Sanders was healthy, and he got more than 75% of snaps, 23 touches — including four in the red zone and two goal-to-go carries — and 20.1 fantasy points. I’m not ready to call my preseason call of him as more of an RB2 for season long a total “L” just yet, but this weekend won’t help my cause as I expect him to crush once again against a Cincinnati defense allowing 32.5 running back carries per game this season and a whopping 5.5 yards per carry. One way to stopCarson Wentz‘s interception problems? Just have him hand off to Sanders. Expect a lot of that Sunday.
Kenyan Drake,Arizona Cardinals, vs. Lions
ESPN projected points:15.7
So Drake recently tweeted, “Lol if you’re mad about my fantasy output the first couple of games, drop me and bless someone else in your league.” Waving bye emoji, laughing emoji. And this concludes my presentation on why Drake and I should never do one of those job-swap things. As an NFL running back, I have the speed of a rock and could take exactly one hit before I was out for the season. Meanwhile, Drake should not be a fantasy analyst, as dropping himself this week would be a huge mistake. RB22 on the season isn’t the start people were hoping for, but with at least 18 touches per game, things will get better against a Detroit squad that just got gashed byAaron Jones(18-168-2 on just the ground last week) and is coughing up a league-worst 6.9 yards per carry this season. I do like Drake’s ideas of blessing someone else in your league. You know, uh … candlesticks always make a nice gift, and uh … maybe a place setting or a silverware pattern. OK, let’s get two!
Joshua Kelley,Los Angeles Chargers, vs. Panthers
ESPN projected points:10.9
By itself, 35 is just a number. It has no meaning, no context, it’s just two digits on a page. But what if I tell you that Kelley has 35 carries through two games and that those 35 carries is tied for sixth in the NFL … and he also leads the Bolts in red zone touches with eight. You’re already startingAustin Ekeler, but Kelley, who somehow is still available in 48% of ESPN leagues, is part of the rare NFL backfield in which both guys are fantasy-viable, especially against a Panthers defense that has surrendered an NFL-worst six rushing scores so far this season.
Mike Davis,Carolina Panthers, at Chargers
ESPN projected points:12.6
Is DavisChristian McCaffrey? He is not. But does he know McCaffrey? Yes. Does he spend time with him in the running backs room in Carolina? Yes. Does he often shower with CMC, with droplets of McCaffrey’s magical fantasy sweat occasionally splattering onto him? Maybe. The point here is that I went too far with that joke and that Davis is very much a worthy flex in PPR until McCaffrey returns. In essentially one quarter of play last week, Davis had eight receptions and 74 yards on eight targets. That means Davis projects to an NFL-record 32 receptions and 296 yards this week in a full game. Wow! Thanks, basic math! OK, fine, I might have gone too far with the projection as well. But on an offense that is pass-heavy due to both its offensive identity and terrible defense, with a QB who likes to throw short, Davis WILL get a ton of targets. And when he gets work, he produces: 15.7 FPPG in eight career games with 13-plus touches.
Jerick McKinnon,San Francisco 49ers, at Giants
ESPN projected points:10.0
The 49ers lead the NFL in running back target share so far this season and, withRaheem MostertandTevin Colemandown to injury, McKinnon is likely to be the biggest beneficiary of those targets (whileJeff Wilsonhandles the short-yardage role). McKinnon was already bordering on fantasy relevance with Mostert in the lineup — 13-plus fantasy points in each game despite getting nine total touches — so expect him to take a nice jump in Week 3 vs. a Giants squad that gave up 113 rushing yards toBenny Snell Jr. in Week 1 and 127 total yards and a score toDavid Montgomerylast week.
Stephania Bell expects Jerick McKinnon to get more work than the 49ers anticipated solely out of necessity.
Others receiving votes
HeavyGiovani Bernardusage worriedJoe Mixonmanagers on Thursday night. But that was two games in five days to open the season for Cincinnati. I suspect Thursday was about not running Mixon into the ground right out of the gate. Expect his role to return to normal Sunday. … Speaking of usage, look forDevin Singletary‘s to rise in Buffalo.Zack Mosshas been dreadful out of the gate — just 2.8 yards per carry and a long run of 8 yards. Singletary might move back into fantasy relevance thanks to his backfield mate moving out of it. … It’s a brutal matchup, butDarrell Hendersonran well last Sunday and as of this writing (Wednesday night) bothCam AkersandMalcolm Brownmissed practice. If even one of them is out for the game, I like Henderson here to provide very viable flex numbers. … You’re not gonna use him this week but deeper league players in need of a RB should stashLa’Mical Perineof the Jets. Gut call he’s their starter sooner than later.
Running backs I hate in Week 3
David Johnson,Houston Texans, at Steelers
ESPN projected points:12.2
I thought Bill O’Brien would try to justify theDeAndre Hopkinstrade by giving Johnson heavy usage. Instead, Johnson has just 27 touches through two weeks. Meanwhile, Hopkins has 22 receptions so far with the Cardinals. You know, I’m starting to think the Texans might not win this trade. They definitely won’t win the line of scrimmage on Sunday against a Steelers team allowing a league-low 2.55 yards per carry to running backs this season and that has given up just one RB rushing touchdown in its past 13 games. Facing the No. 1 run defense in the NFL is never ideal, and when you add inDuke Johnson‘s return to action, David Johnson is outside my top 20 for Week 3.
Field Yates and Matthew Berry agree that David Johnson has plenty of potential, but neither like his matchup against the Steelers defense in Week 3.
Todd Gurley,Atlanta Falcons, vs. Bears
ESPN projected points:13.0
The hope for those of you who spent an early-round pick on Gurley was that he would do well … well, early. His knees might be wearing down, but he’d at least have some jump at the start of the season, right? Wrong. Gurley has only 3.3 yards per carry this season, and if you take away his touchdown in Week 1, he has just 13.7 fantasy points TOTAL through two games. Possibly even worse: He has played just 52% of snaps so far, andIto Smithsaw both Atlanta goal-line carries in Week 2. The Falcons score a ton of points; they just don’t seem to like to do it with Gurley on the field. Here’s the craziest stat:Matt Ryanis second in the NFL in passing attempts and passing yards. Gurley has 1 receiving yard. ONE. As in, one more than you or me. That is … (checks notes) … not good.
New York GiantsRBs, vs. 49ers
I hope you didn’t blow your FAAB budget onDevonta Freeman,Dion Lewisand/orWayne Gallman. The Giants rank dead last in yards per rush before first contact this season (0.90). And that was with a superstar running back. Here’s what they have now:
Dion Lewis: Just 8.7 FPPG in his past five games with eight-plus touches.
Wayne Gallman: 3.6 yards per carry since the start of 2018.
Devonta Freeman: In 2019, ranked last among qualified RBs in yards per rush after first contact.
One of them might wind up with fantasy value this season. I’d say Freeman has the best chance to eventually be “The Guy,” but that’s no sure thing. The only sure thing is it won’t be this weekend, when Freeman is likely to play only limited snaps if he’s even active. This feels like a three-headed committee for the near future, and even with a really banged-up 49ers defense coming to town, I’d rather wait and see than start and cry.
Pass-catchers I love in Week 3
Mike Evans,Tampa Bay Buccaneers, at Broncos
ESPN projected points:14.5
Evans was targeted on 34.5% of his routes in Week 2. In Week 3, he might be targeted on 134.5% of his routes because the Broncos allow the most receptions and yards to perimeter wide receivers this season.Chris Godwinbeing back doesn’t worry me, and clearly Evans’ hammys don’t bother him. The only bother this week is from your opponent when he realizes this is the week he has to face Evans, not Week 1. Easy top-10 guy for me this weekend.
DK Metcalf,Seattle Seahawks, vs. Cowboys
ESPN projected points:14.8
While Denver might have the worst perimeter defense in the NFL, how ’bout them Cowboys? A league-high three touchdowns to perimeter receivers this season, and they’ve also allowed a receiver to go over 100 yards in each game so far. Can he change his name to TD Metcalf? No? Fine. Two of the hottest offenses in the NFL face off against two defenses that are struggling. I’ve got Metcalf here as the most likely bet to be the guy who gets to 100 yards and a touchdown for the third straight game against the should-be 0-2 Cowboys. ButTyler Lockett,Amari Cooper,CeeDee Lamband yes,Michael Gallupshould all be in lineups.
JuJu Smith-SchusterandDiontae Johnson,Pittsburgh Steelers, vs. Texans
ESPN projected points:15.0 (Schuster), 14.2 (Johnson)
Smith-Schuster has seen 50% ofBen Roethlisberger‘s slot targets this season, and there should be plenty of slot targets against a Houston defense that has allowed opponents to go 15-of-19 for 164 yards and two touchdowns to the slot so far this season. Meanwhile among wide receivers in the NFL, onlyDeAndre Hopkinshas more targets than Johnson. I absolutely love Johnson (this weekend and for the year — he was on the preseason “Love” list) and please ignore any incorrect headlines that say different. By the way, did I have to use Hopkins here? Couldn’t I have just said Johnson was second among WRs in the NFL in targets? Yes, I could have. So was the choice to use him just another way to take a subtle shot at the Texans for trading Hopkins? Hmm. Hard to say. I’ll get back to you.
Matthew Berry isn’t sold on Diontae Johnson, unlike Field Yates, who claims, “The Steelers find wide receivers like they are shopping for a sweater at Old Navy.”
Terry McLaurin, Washington, at Browns
ESPN projected points:14.6
Through two weeks, McLaurin leads all players on fantasy points from passes thrown between the numbers. That bodes well for huge fantasy numbers against the Browns: On passes between the numbers so far this season, Cleveland has allowed opponents to go 34-of-46 for 323 yards and five TDs. In related news, he’s all Washington has at wide receiver. Terry McScorin made everyone who faded him last week (raises hand sheepishly) look dumb, and he will once again get a ton of looks in a game in which Washington is a touchdown underdog.
CeeDee Lamb,Dallas Cowboys, at Seahawks
ESPN projected points:12.4
I know I mentioned him briefly above but bringing him up here to suggest we call him A.B. Lamb, because he’s already the A or B option in that Dallas passing game, not the C or D option as we expected. Was that a tortured play on words? It was! And it’s about to continue, as I expect Lamb to torture that seedy (get it?) Seattle defense that is dead last this season on receptions and yards to the slot, which is where Lamb does his damage. I mean … LAMBage. OK, now I’ll stop.
Field Yates and Matthew Berry discuss CeeDee Lamb’s fantasy value and whether he’s a weekly starter right now.
Jonnu Smith,Tennessee Titans, at Vikings
ESPN projected points:10.1
I talked up Smith all offseason as a potential late-round TE with upside and, well, please address your thank-you mail to: Matthew Berry, c/o ESPN, Bristol, CT 06010. Gift cards accepted. As I wait for my fan mail to arrive, let me tell you that Smith is TE2 so far this season, has scored three times in two weeks, and all of that is without getting to play the Vikings yet. You know, the team that just letMo Alie-Coxgo for 111 yards on six targets? WithA.J. Browneither out or not 100 percent healthy once again this weekend, Smith will be one of the focal points of the Titans’ offense.
Noah Fant,Denver Broncos, vs. Buccaneers
ESPN projected points:9.3
Fant looked to have an early connection with quarterbackDrew Lock, but even afterJeff Driskeltook over last week, Fant still led all Denver pass-catchers in routes run. I don’t expect his production to drop with Driskel under center, especially not after Courtland Sutton is out for the season, especially not against a Tampa D that allows the seventh-most yards to opposing tight ends and especially not when you realize he is FANT-astic. That’s not an actual stat, but it drives Field Yates nuts when I use that pun so I am absolutely making it a thing.
Others receiving votes
If you didn’t snagDalton Schultzon the waiver wire, it’s probably too late now. In Week 2 he was top eight at the TE position in targets, receptions, yards, fantasy points and red zone targets. …Drew Samplegot nine targets last Thursday afterC.J. Uzomahleft with an injury. Sure, that’s a small Sample size (sorry again!), butJoe Burrowdoes like to throw to the tight end and Sample will get looks. … Always dangerous to suggest guys on Thursday night because lots of people read this Friday and then when you have a prediction not work out people get mean and then you have to rewatch a bunch of motivational movie scenes on YouTube again. But for those in deeper leagues, I likeKeelan ColeandLaviska Shenaultfor the Jaguars andIsaiah Fordfor the Dolphins facing each other in what should be a bit of a shootout.DJ Charkbeing banged up helps Cole and Shenault (Cole has a score in two in a row and leads the Jags in targets; Shenault has seven carries already this season and has caught 75% of his targets), while Ford led his team in targets last weekend on his way to a 7-for-76 day, and more important, I play against him this week in the ESPN War Room league so you KNOW he’s going off. It’s science.
Pass-catchers I hate in Week 3
A.J. Green,Cincinnati Bengals, at Eagles
ESPN projected points:12.7
It’s not illegal to get old. If it were, I would be writing this column from a prison cell. But Green does look like he has lost a step, with just 80 yards on 22 total targets so far this season. I do believe better days are ahead for Green. Even if you’ve lost a step, massive target share can make up for that. And he is certainly getting looks from quarterbackJoe Burrow. Soon, they will be on the same page. But those better days ahead probably don’t include Sunday, as Green will be shadowed byDarius Slay, the guy who just held Rams wide receiver Robert Woods to two catches for 14 yards on 16 perimeter routes last week. He’s merely a shaky, TD-dependent flex for me in Week 3.
Robert Woods,Los Angeles Rams, at Bills
ESPN projected points:13.8
Revenge game! The anger, the passion, the trash talk, it’s … uh … (looks around) nonexistent. Yes, Woods used to play for Buffalo, but that feels like a million years ago and no one remembers or cares. Possibly the most “boring” revenge game ever. Woods will be shadowed byTre’Davious Whitefor much of Sunday, as Mike Clay notes in hisalways excellent WR/CB matchup column. White has allowed just five receptions all season. WithJared Goff‘s struggles when pressured (among qualified QBs, Goff had the third-largest dip in pass TD% when pressured compared to when not pressured) and given how well Buffalo brings pressure, I expect this to be more of aCooper KuppandTyler Higbeegame. Woods is outside my top 20 for the week.
Will Fuller,Houston Texans, at Steelers
ESPN projected points:12.5
Speaking of pressure, when Texans quarterback DeShaun Watson is pressured this season, Fuller has zero catches on one target. Considering Pittsburgh is blitzing a league-high 63.8% of the time through two weeks and is creating pressure a league-high 44.7% of the time, Fuller is unlikely to get enough targets to have much Week 3 value. Add in a potentially problematic hamstring (stop me if you’ve heard this one before) and Fuller is once again a high risk/reward WR in Week 3.
Chris Herndon,New York Jets, at Colts
ESPN projected points:7.8
I don’t think Chris Herndon is going to happen. We hoped it would eventually, but it’s just not. Not while Adam Gase is still there. Through two weeks, Herndon is 26th in the NFL among tight ends on routes run and, despite the Jets’ injuries at wide receiver, Herndon still has only a 16.9% target share. He dropped a touchdown last weekend, which certainly doesn’t help him get more opportunities, either. The Colts have allowed just three receptions for 11 yards so far this season to tight ends. There are too many other higher-floor and higher-ceiling tight ends this week to risk Herndon in a 10- or 12-team league.
Matthew Berry, The Talented Mr. Roto, can finally admit that yes, that was another shot at the Texans for trading away DeAndre Hopkins.