So the good news is I didn’t get fired after last week’s lineup. The bad news? The lineup…the lineup was the bad news.
I made the following pivots on Sunday after we got some injury news…
With the news of Jack Doyle being inactive as well as the damn near the whole Cowboys OL being out i'm making the following pivots…
Out: Doyle, Zeke, Giants Def
In: Barkley, Alie-Cox, Bucs Def
— window seat on the spaceship (@Carey1313) September 20, 2020
I’ve evolved this article over time to take risks, so a bad lineup doesn’t spook me if the process is sound. While I do believe that to be the case here, I was just flat out wrong EVERYWHERE.
The funny thing (or not) is…I wrote in last week’s article that you could question whether Philip Rivers having 45 attempts was a good idea. At my expense, the Colts listened. Rivers had only 25 attempts, 214 TD-less yards and one pick. That obviously hurt T.Y. Hilton’s chances at a bounce-back game (5.80 points) as Jonathan Taylor’s breakout party took precedent.
Kirk Cousins absolutely crumbling to the Colts pass rush did the same for Adam Thielen (6.10 points). Saquon Barkley got hurt. Clyde Edwards-Helaire was contained on the ground and didn’t score. A surprising game script – and medical malpractice – rendered Mike Williams ineffective (3.40 points). Ronald Jones scored early then fumbled the bag.
Mo Alie-Cox and the Bucs defense had good performances (33.10 combined points) but that was like throwing a bottle cap of water on a five-alarm fire. The lineup scored an all time low 86.76 points. So like most people who endured Week 2 of fantasy, I’m saying emphatically…on to Week 3.
QB Carson Wentz vs. Cincinnati
Taking the route less traveled at QB again this week but unlike last week, if it doesn’t hit it won’t be due to a lack of attempts. Carson Wentz has the 4th most pass attempts in the NFL through two weeks.
Matt Harmon of Yahoo Sports pointed out that the Eagles are throwing on 63 percent on early downs when leading, the 2nd highest rate in the league. Throwing on “running downs” has shown to be profitable for offenses, but the Eagles just have not seen it bear fruit early on.
While Wentz hasn’t been good to start this season, he is in a prime spot to bounce back this week.
Working behind a banged up offensive line should be less of an issue versus a middling Bengals pass rush (18th in adjusted sack rate per Football Outsiders) who could again be without Geno Atkins and Mike Daniels up front. The Bengals haven’t faced what you would consider threatening QB’s so far this season (Tyrod Taylor and Baker Mayfield) but have allowed 7.7 net yards per pass attempt, the 7th most in the league.
I love Wentz’s chances to right the ship in what should be an under-the-radar tournament play.
DraftKings salary: 5,800
RB Kenyan Drake vs. Detroit
Fresh off a 236 total yard three-TD punking at the hands of Aaron Jones, the Lions defense now travels to Arizona to face the dangerous, fast-paced run game of the Cardinals. Kenyan Drake has been fine to start the season. His workload as a runner is as secure as there is in the league and he’ll be at least mildly involved in the passing game weekly. He just hasn’t had that blow up yet. I’d say being a six-point favorite, facing a team that is allowing 6.9 yards per carry to RB’s would qualify as a blow up spot.
This one is an easy play, especially at his price.
DraftKings salary: 6,000
RB Jonathan Taylor vs. New York (Jets)
See, I do learn from my mistakes. The Colts transformed from a pass-heavy outfit to a run-heavy one that better suits their talents. Taylor assumed full workhorse duties, rushing for 101 yards on 26 carries. He also ran five more pass routes than he did in his six-catch debut. He wound up with just two catches for nine yards but the involvement was nice and further strengthens his floor.
Usually a strong run defense, the Jets have given up 4.6 yards per carry this season and got hammered for 182 yards by the 49ers last week. The Colts are a whopping 9.5-point favorite versus a punchless Jets team so even if their run defense shows up, he’s liable to have plenty of opportunities to break off a long run to make up for some tougher sledding.
Now priced appropriately, don’t let that make you miss out on a good thing in Taylor this week.
DraftKings salary: 7,000
WR Desean Jackson vs. Cincinnati
D-Jax’s snaps and targets have grown in each of the first two weeks and now he enters a get-right spot at home with no Jalen Reagor to contend with for deep ball targets. Jackson is usually a lower volume big play artist, but he’s got 16 targets in two games and will likely continue to see that usage stabilize or even grow with Reagor and Alshon Jeffery out.
A Carson Wentz ceiling game will likely be heavily influenced by Jackson’s big play ability so I’m betting on myself with this play.
DraftKings salary: 5,200
WR Kenny Golladay @ Arizona
So if Kenyan Drake is able to take advantage of his matchup and put the Lions into negative game script, who stands to be the biggest beneficiary from a fantasy standpoint? You guessed it. Returning from injury this week, Kenny Golladay should be able to enjoy early success versus this Cardinals secondary.
He should see plenty of Patrick Peterson but that’s no longer the prohibitive matchup it used to be. In nine games last year he had the 78th coverage ranking for defensive backs per playerprofiler.com’s system and he hasn’t seemed to regain that all-pro form so far this year.
Operating as the key to the Lions downfield passing game, Golladay should see increased opportunities of big plays due to pace as these two teams are both top-8 in seconds per player per Football Outsiders.
I suppose this play does carry some risk as there is a chance his snaps are managed but at his price tag, in a game that has a 51.5 total and the correlation to our Drake play, I’m willing to chance it.
DraftKings salary: 6,200
WR Amari Cooper @ Seattle
This game will likely be the most popular game one on the slate and while I felt like it was important to get pieces of it…I didn’t want it to be with Dak Prescott or Russell Wilson due to their popularity but this game has a 55.5 total. I’d call that un-fade-able.
Amari Cooper has 23 targets in two games and the Seahawks have given up the most fantasy points to receivers to start the season. In fact, they’ve given up over 200 more yards to receivers than any other team in the league so far. The Cowboys are a 4.5-point underdog on Sunday, giving Cooper rather good odds of having a busy day.
DraftKings salary: 6,500
TE Drew Sample @ Philadelphia
So you know I was going to bring back that Philly stack with someone but I bet you didn’t think it would be him. After C.J. Uzomah went down with a season-ending injury, Sample was BUSY. He ran 33 routes, had nine targets (four In the red zone!) and secured seven of them for 45 yards playing in a game script I fully expect them to be in again on Sunday.
Oh, and what did the Eagles do versus tight ends last week? Just give up three TD to Tyler Higbee.
I thought about bigger-name guys to bring it back with on Cincy but none made more sense than Sample.
DraftKings salary: 3,500
Flex Chris Carson vs. Dallas
Home favorite RB’s and correlation for the win. Like Drake, Chris Carson has a secure workload as a runner with passing game involvement, but he’s scored three receiving TD this year. The Cowboys held up OK versus the pass-happy Falcons last week but did get touched up a bit in Week 1 at the hands of Malcolm Brown (79 yards 2 TD 4.4 yards per carry).
Carson may go a bit overlooked but he again is in play for multiple scores and should flirt with 20 touches. That is the type of game environment we’re always looking for.
DraftKings salary: 6,600
Defense Patriots Def vs. Las Vegas
The Raiders had a good showing on Monday night versus the Saints. They look the part of a team that could vie for a playoff spot but they are heading into the wrong place to be a concentrated offense. There is no doubt in my mind that Bill Belichick will devise a scheme designed to take Darren Waller out of the game and key in on this Raiders run game. He’ll try to force Derek Carr to hold on to the ball and make plays down the field and outside of structure…things that Carr doesn’t do well. I know he’s not a QB you typically like to attack in fantasy because he’s very conservative, but I think this is a spot where he’ll be forced to take more chances.
DraftKings salary: 3,200