Rich Hribar

The Worksheet

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The NFL Week 2 Worksheet

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


Week 1 is officially in the books and it’s already had quite the impact on the season. We’ve had two major injuries occur, losing David Johnson for the foreseeable future and Allen Robinson for the season’s entirety. Also, like many opening weeks, we’ve already begun to see the climate shift of things not being quite what we perceived them to be. That roller coaster will last another week or two as we begin to see trends develop. As those trends develop, this article will grow meatier.



As for the token disclaimer, the goal of this article is to provide a top-down, statistical snapshot for each game each week, running down weekly point spreads, team totals, play calling splits, and statistical bullet points on the players and teams involved. Although we’re focusing strictly on PPR league scoring here as a baseline, there’s more than enough to spread around across formats and daily leagues. The reason we’re operating under a PPR umbrella is it allows us to cover a larger portion of the players involved in action weekly.

 

Lastly, as the author, it’s imperative that I note that this is NOT a start/sit column, rather an expectations column. The labels for each subset of players for each game are simply a vehicle for those expectations and have a different context for each player that you can find at the end of the column. I encourage that you use the game by game tables and data points here in conjunction with the Start/Sit column posted weekly by Nick Mensio, Pat Daugherty’s rankings in the Goal Line Stand, Evan Silva’s Matchup’s column, Ray Summerlin's Waiver Wired and most importantly, your own information and thought process. With that out of the way, let’s hit all the Week 2 games with a PPR light…

 

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Texans @ Bengals

 

HoustonRank@CincinnatiRank
4.5   Spread -4.5  
16.8   Implied Total 21.3  
69.0 5 Plays/Gm 58.0 22
60.0 13 Opp. Plays/Gm 60.0 14
33.3% 22 Rush% 37.9% 17
66.7% 11 Pass% 62.1% 16
65.0% 31 Opp. Rush % 70.0% 32
35.0% 2 Opp. Pass % 30.0% 1

 

  • Andy Dalton has thrown five touchdowns with six interceptions, averaging 10.9 points per game over five career Thursday Night games. He has finished as QB17 or lower in four of those five games.
  • Only Denver (9.5) has allowed fewer passing points per game than Houston (12.2) since the start of last season.
  • Bengals Week 1 RB snap counts: Giovani Bernard (29), Joe Mixon (22), Jeremy Hill (10). Mixon had 11 touches, Bernard eight and Hill seven.
  • Houston averaged 2.9 yards per play in Week 1, the lowest in the league. They ranked 31st in the league in yards per play (4.7) in 2016.
  • The Texans allowed a sack on 21.7 percent of pass plays in Week 1, the highest rate they've allowed in a game since Week 2, 2005.
  • Deshaun Watson targeted DeAndre Hopkins on 47.8 percent of his throws.

 

Bust: Deshaun Watson (Watson has the benefit of being able to use his legs, but looking at the Houston implied point total and the way this offensive played Week 1 paired with a short week on the road, his first start couldn't be less desirable), Andy Dalton (he’ll surely best his negative score from a week ago, but Dalton has a history of struggling under the lights while facing Houston inherently comes with limitations throwing the football successfully), Joe Mixon/Giovani Bernard/Jeremy Hill (Hill and Mixon should run into more work in this one if the script plays out accordingly, but there’s still no way you can plug any of these guys into lineups confidently), Tyler Eifert (he saw just one target a week ago --his lowest total in a game since his rookie season—and is facing a team that has allowed just three touchdowns to opposing tight ends since the start of last season)

 

Reasonable Return: A.J. Green (Houston rarely has given up big WR1 scoring games to lead options, but Green will remain to be fed. His 10 targets in Week 1 were double that of the next Cincinnati player), Lamar Miller (Last week’s 19 touches for 96 yards are what we’ve come to expect from Miller as a middle to lower RB2 that is carried by volume), DeAndre Hopkins (he was in almost an identical spot a year ago against the Bengals --coming off a half against the Jaguars down big on the scoreboard in which the backup quarterback came in and jammed him with targets—and caught just three passes for 43 yards. Despite the potential of a rookie quarterback drawing his first start and the Bengals getting Adam Jones back, Hopkins should still have enough opportunity with to float a lower end WR2/WR3 week, but you’ll need another touchdown to push him up like a week ago), Tyler Ervin (he has little to no upside, but had five targets and three carries last week. With Houston having lost their entire tight end corps this week paired with Cincinnati naturally being tougher on wide receivers and inviting to backs in the passing game, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ervin push eight plus looks and turn in a flex worthy week)

 

Bills @ Panthers

 

BuffaloRank@CarolinaRank
8.5   Spread -8.5  
17.3   Implied Total 25.8  
72.0 3 Plays/Gm 63 16
55.0 9 Opp. Plays/Gm 54.0 7
58.3% 4 Rush% 60.3% 3
41.7% 29 Pass% 39.7% 30
27.3% 5 Opp. Rush % 27.8% 6
72.7% 28 Opp. Pass % 72.2% 27

 

  • Christian McCaffrey out-snapped Jonathan Stewart 47 to 29, while Stewart tallied 20 touches to 18 for McCaffrey.
  • McCaffrey had 28 percent of the team targets, which was only behind Tarik Cohen (30 percent) for all backs Week 1.
  • Cam Newton has carried just 39 times for 101 yards with one touchdown over his past eight games. He's had single-digit rushing yards in five of those games.
  • Buffalo averaged 11.7 fewer points per game (19.1) on the road last year, 31st in terms of difference in home and away scoring.
  • Charles Clay led all tight ends in Week 1 target share with 32.1 percent of the Buffalo targets.
  • Over his past five games dating back to last year, Clay has averaged 26.7 percent of the team targets and 16.6 points per game. He's been a top-10 scoring tight end in four of those games.
  • Buffalo wide receivers totaled just eight targets (29.6 percent of the team total) in Week 1, the fewest in the league.
  • In 10 games as a road underdog with Buffalo, LeSean McCoy averages 18.1 points per game and hasn't finished lower than RB14 in any of those games.
 

Trust: LeSean McCoy (he had 27 touches a week ago and even though he’s attached to a large road dog in a tougher individual matchup, that hasn’t hampered his fantasy output before)

 

Bust: Kelvin Benjamin (he has another favorable matchup, but with Carolina expected to control the game again, he could be looking at another game in which he needs to do a lot on very little opportunity like was a week ago on five targets), Greg Olsen (he’s been a TE1 now in just five of his past 11 games played and similarly to Benjamin, if Carolina is going to nurture Newton back while involving McCaffrey so heavily, we may not be able to target this passing game churning out upside until they face a more formidable opponent), Zay Jones/Jordan Matthews (both should see more work than a week ago with Buffalo expected to be trailing, but neither have a rapport with Taylor and are behind McCoy and Clay in the pecking order)

 

Reasonable Return: Cam Newton (he threw just 25 passes a week ago –his fewest since Week 14, 2015—and if the Panthers are going to control the game, his legs may not be needed again, forcing you to rely strictly on his passing output), Tyrod Taylor (his rushing is more than enough to hold him as a mid-tier QB2 as he’s been in the top half of weekly scoring now in 22 of his 30 starts with Buffalo), Charles Clay (he and Taylor have found a familiarity with each other while Carolina has allowed 12 touchdowns to opposing tight ends since the start of last season), Christian McCaffrey (Carolina held true on their word that they would incorporate him heavily, but they also held true on their word that Stewart would be the back garnering the money touches. McCaffrey’s 18 touches resulted in an RB25 scoring week. If you’re expectation are to use him as a lower RB2/flex option, then you won’t be disappointed if he fails to score), Jonathan Stewart (he led the team in 4th Quarter touches and came in for red zone snaps while this is another game that should lend itself to both attributes)

 

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Bears @ Buccaneers

 

ChicagoRank@Tampa BayRank
7   Spread -7  
18.0   Implied Total 25.0  
63.0 12 Plays/Gm 66.6 7
55.0 8 Opp. Plays/Gm 63.3 15
30.2% 25 Rush% 42.5% 9
69.8% 8 Pass% 57.5% 24
41.8% 21 Opp. Rush % 42.2% 22
58.2% 12 Opp. Pass % 57.8% 11

 

  • Jacquizz Rodgers had at least 17 touches in each of the five games which Rodgers was the lead back for the Buccaneers a year ago, scoring double-digit points in four of those five games.
  • The Bucs went 6-2 over their final eight games last year and over that span they were 27th in the league in pass rate (54.7 percent) and were 15th in plays per game after running the third most plays and passing 60.3 percent of them prior.
  • Tarik Cohen was targeted on 52.4 percent of his routes, the highest rate for all running backs in Week 1.
  • With 113 yards from scrimmage, Cohen was the third Bears' player to go over 100-yards from scrimmage in their first career game, joining Matt Forte in 2008 and Charlie Wade in 1974.
  • Jordan Howard played 56.7 percent of the team snaps Week 1. He averaged 70.6 percent of the snaps per game Weeks 3-17 as a rookie.

 

Trust: Jameis Winston (his second-best fantasy game a year ago came in this exact same matchup at home and now has more weapons to work with), Cameron Brate (no tight end had a higher percent of his scoring come from the slot last year than Brate --so the arrival of O.J. Howard isn’t the end for using him this season--while he was the TE2 in this matchup a year ago)

 

Bust: Mike Glennon (his homecoming to Tampa should be met with lower-end QB2 output), Jordan Howard (Howard’s 16 touches last week were aided by finding the end zone, but will be hard to bank on here as Tampa Bay allowed just four RB1 scoring weeks a year), Chicago WRs (Bears wideouts had just 35 percent of the team targets Week 1, which was second to last in the league. Until someone emerges here for opportunity, no one is useable)

 

Reasonable Return: Mike Evans (despite not having a challenging secondary, Chicago hasn’t surrendered WR1 fantasy games to lead boundary wideouts under John Fox and we saw that in play again last weekend against Julio Jones, while the last time these teams played, Evans had a 4-66 line), DeSean Jackson (any limitation for Evans should steer opportunity right into the direction of Jackson and Marcus Cooper has had his share of troubles with big play receivers over his career), Jacquizz Rodgers (the Bears do a sound job limiting backs in the run game, but as a big home favorite, Quizz should run into enough volume to post RB2 totals), Tarik Cohen (you can’t count on touchdowns or even 60 plus yards rushing weekly, but Cohen has the makings of a floor flex option in the ilk of Darren Sproles since Chicago has no dependable pieces in their passing game at this juncture)

 

Vikings @ Steelers

 

MinnesotaRank@PittsburghRank
7.5   Spread -7.5  
18.8   Implied Total 26.3  
63.0 13 Plays/Gm 54 26
59.0 12 Opp. Plays/Gm 62.0 16
47.6% 8 Rush% 31.5% 24
52.4% 25 Pass% 68.5% 9
35.6% 12 Opp. Rush % 40.3% 19
64.4% 21 Opp. Pass % 59.7% 14

 

  • Le'Veon Bell played just 71 percent of the snaps (43 of 60) on Sunday, his lowest snap share in a full game played since Week 5, 2014.
  • Bell's 47 yards from scrimmage were the lowest of his career, trumping his previous career-low of 51 total yards in the fourth game of his rookie season in 2013.
  • Antonio Brown had 61.1 percent of the Pittsburgh offensive yardage Week 1. The next highest receiver in terms of yardage share (Pierre Garcon) had 33.2 percent.
  • Ben Roethlisberger has been a QB1 in 10 of 12 homes starts over the past two seasons with 19 or more points in 10 of those games.
  • Minnesota has allowed just four QB1 performances and just one 300-yard passing game since the start of last season, tied with Denver in both categories for the fewest in the league.
  • Dalvin Cook's 127 rushing yards were the most ever by a Minnesota rookie running back in a Week 1 game.
  • Sam Bradford has thrown three touchdowns in three consecutive games dating back to last season, the longest streak in the league.
  • Bradford completed 8-of-9 passes for 219 yards on passes over 15 yards in Week 1.

 

Trust: Le'Veon Bell (he was eased into things a week ago, but that should no longer be the case here. Even if he doesn’t stack rushing yardage, Minnesota allowed Saints’ backs to tack on nine catches for 74 yards a week ago), Kyle Rudolph (last week set up as a game in which the Minnesota wideouts were going to carry the passing game and this week sets up for Rudolph to do the lifting. Pittsburgh was 23rd in receptions allowed to tight ends a year ago and allowed 6-62 to Cleveland tight ends Week 1)

 

Bust: Jesse James (he’s an option only if chasing a touchdown as there won’t be many more games in which he is second on the team in target opportunity)

 

Reasonable Return: Antonio Brown (this should be a dynamic matchup between Brown and Xavier Rhodes as the Vikings allowed just three WR1 weeks a year ago and clamped Michael Thomas Week 1, but any shade here should be turned towards DFS as Brown is still easily a set and forget option in weekly leagues that can get over on any cornerback), Ben Roethlisberger (a stud at home versus a defense that stifles quarterback production. I don’t foresee Ben pushing past 300-yards here, but multiple scores are still in play), Martavis Bryant (last week was a reminder that Bryant is still a volatile fantasy option, but with Brown tying up with Rhodes, Bryant should find opportunities to make plays on Trae Waynes), Stefon Diggs/Adam Thielen (Pittsburgh ranked fifth in limiting fantasy production to receivers a year ago and although this Minnesota tandem is far more formidable than Cleveland a week ago, allowed just 8-98-1 to wideouts a week ago), Sam Bradford (he’s been playing his best football under Pat Shurmur, but this will be a test on the road in which I don’t believe we’ll see him get over two touchdowns), Dalvin Cook (his rushing output should come down this week, but I’d expect more than the three receptions he posted)


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Rich Hribar is a husband, father, sports meteorologist and a slave to statistics. A lifelong sports fan and fantasy gamer. You can find him on Twitter @LordReebs.
Email :Rich Hribar



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