Sat Sep 18 9:43am ET
By CHARLIE WIEGERT
With Week 1 in the books, use some caution with some of the strange things we saw. Green Bay is not that bad, and New Orleans is probably not that good. Houston might have won their only game of the year, and Jacksonville might not win any. So as I look at the best offenses and worst defenses, I’ll still factor last year in some as one game doesn’t give you a good picture. . . . most of the time!
The top passing team this week should be the Los Angeles Chargers at home against Dallas, who were torched by Tom Brady and Tampa Bay last week. Justin Herbert is no Tom Brady (yet!), but should have his way against a weak Dallas secondary. Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Jared Cook all have a chance to top the century mark in receiving yardage.
The Atlanta at Tampa Bay game should be a big arial show. Both teams gave up huge passing yards last week, and Tampa reciprocated to win the game. It’s doubtful that Atlanta can hold with them, but they’ll need to get a huge game from Matt Ryan to stay close.
Green Bay gets a great get well card with Detroit coming to visit. While Green Bay should be able to do whatever they want offensively, meaning Aaron Jones could run wild, I expect the Rodgers to Davante Adams show to be the feature attraction.
My other favorite for passing yards based on a bad passing defense is Teddy Bridgewater at home against Jacksonville. If Tyrod Taylor and Houston can dominate the Jags, Denver should light them up at Mile High. With Jerry Jeudy out, look for Tim Patrick, Courtland Sutton and KJ Hamler to have big days.
The tough passing defenses to stay away from if you can this week are Rams (no Carson Wentz), Steelers (no Derek Carr), Broncos (no Trevor Lawrence), Patriots (no Zach Wilson) and Bills (no Tua Tagovailoa).
Christian McCaffery is always the guy you look to be number one, and of course you play him if you have him, but he’s not a good DFS play at his high salary this week going against a Saints defense that contained Aaron Jones last week. As mentioned above, though, Jones could rebound this week and have big numbers against Detroit. The Chiefs gave up a lot of yards to Cleveland last week and are soft against the run. The question is who on Baltimore will get those yards. Lamar Jackson will probably lead the team, but Ty’Son Williams gets a chance for a big day, also.
Minnesota showed it could be run on last week, which means Kyler Murray could challenge Jackson for the most rushing yards from a quarterback this week. Chase Edmonds should lead the Cardinals rushing attack, but he’ll split time with James Conner, making both good, but not great plays.
It doesn’t get any easier this week for Tennessee’s Derrick Henry going against the Seahawks. And don’t expect a repeat performance from Houston’s Mark Ingram at Cleveland. Mike Davis and Atlanta will have tough going at Tampa Bay.
It’s not always finding the defense giving up the most passing yards. Sometimes it’s finding the weak cornerbacks, and staying away from the shutdown corners. Such was the case for Bears’ Allen Robinson with Rams Jalen Ramsey covering him last week. This week should be different for Robinson and Darnell Mooney going against a Bengal secondary that gave up 59 points to wide receivers last week. The Bears secondary wasn’t a whole lot better giving up the fifth most points to wideouts last week, so the Bengals receivers should have good days. Slot receiver Tyler Boyd should fair the best, but Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase will get theirs, too.
As mentioned above, the Lions have no way to stop Packers’ Davante Adams. As bad as the Lions were last week, they lost top defensive back Jeff Okudah, so Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdez-Scantling also could have good fantasy days.
There will be an interesting battle as Arizona takes on Minnesota. Former Cardinal Patrick Peterson tries to shut down former teammate DeAndre Hopkins. AJ Green and Christian Kirk might be the better plays. Odell Beckham Jr will miss the game, opening the door for Donovan Peoples-Jones to have a big day as Jarvis Landry will draw tighter coverage.
It could be tough going for Bills wideouts Stefan Diggs and Emmanuel Sanders as the Dolphins could shut them down. And the Colts Zach Pascal will get shadowed by Rams Jalen Ramsey.
Every week it’s going to be the same five guys - Travis Kelce, Darren Waller, George Kittle, Mark Andrews and T.J. Hockenson. This week the edge goes to Kelce against the Ravens defense that allowed the third most fantasy points to tight ends in Week 1. He is followed by Hockenson against the Packer defense that was fifth in points allowed. The “sleeper” picks could be Chargers Jared Cook against the Cowboys, a team that allowed the most points (29), or Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert against the 49ers, a team that was fourth in points allowed. A really, really deep sleeper would be Texans Pharaoh Brown or Jordan Akins going against the Browns, a team that was second in points allowed last week, although that probably had more to do going against Travis Kelce. And don’t forget Rob Gronkowski, who is on the same page with Tom Brady right now, going against the Falcons.
The teams that allowed the most points last week were Tennessee (take Seattle), Detroit (take Green Bay), New York Jets (take New England), Tampa Bay (take Atlanta) and Green Bay (take Detroit). So this is where Week 1 stats can be misleading. You don’t want Atlanta or Detroit.
The defenses that scored the most Week 1 were Arizona, San Francisco, Washington, Carolina and Dallas. After all those stats, the team I like the most this week is Denver, playing at Jacksonville against a rookie quarterback and coach. I’m expecting two to three picks, and hopefully one returned for a pick six.
Charlie Wiegert was the sixth person to be inducted in the Fantasy Sports Hall Of Fame in 2001. He is a founder of CDM Fantasy Sports and Fantasy Sports Trade Association. He has been playing and winning fantasy baseball leagues since 1984. If you have any questions for Charlie, email them to email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GFFantasySports.
Carolina Panthers tight end Ian Thomas and tight end Tommy Tremble will take on the Giants in Week 7. Both players split the playing time relatively evenly last week, as Thomas played 54 percent of the snaps compared to Tremble's 51 percent. The Giants have allowed four touchdowns to the position, so one of these two could find the end zone in Week 7. Given that the Panthers have shown some creativity with Tremble at the goal-line, he looks like the slightly better bet of the two to produce a decent line.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Parris Campbell (foot) underwent foot surgery on Friday and could miss the rest of the season. The 24-year-old exited Monday's win over the Texans early with a foot injury. He was placed on injured reserve earlier this week. Campbell caught 10-of-17 targets for 162 yards and the one touchdown in five games this year. According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Campbell underwent surgery on Friday, potentially ending his season. While Campbell is sidelined, T.Y. Hilton, Zach Pascal, and Michael Pittman should see an uptick in targets.
Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones continues to produce for fantasy managers. He rushed 13 times for 76 yards and caught all four targets for 34 yards and a touchdown in the Packers' 24-14 win over the Chicago Bears in Week 6. The 26-year-old has found the end zone six times over his last six games this season. Jones has made the most out of his receptions out of the backfield, averaging 8.9 YAC per reception, seventh among all running backs. Washington is ranked 28th in rush DVOA and allows 20 fantasy points per game to opposing team's running backs. Jones should be busy on Sunday and is set up to have a massive performance in a plus matchup against Washington in Week 7.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Robby Anderson has struggled this season heading into a favorable matchup against the Giants. Anderson has caught just 15 of 40 targets for 190 yards and two touchdowns, posting a career-worst 37.5 percent catch rate. However, 29 of those 40 targets have come in the past three weeks, as the speedy wideout has seen his involvement in the offense skyrocket with Christian McCaffrey (hamstring) sidelined. Anderson should remain heavily involved with fellow receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. (head) trending in the wrong direction for Sunday's game. With a potentially elite target share incoming and a matchup against a Giants defense that has allowed the eighth-most touchdowns to wideouts on tap- Anderson could be poised for his best game of the year.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers could have another massive fantasy day in Week 7 against the Washington Football Team. Washington has been unable to stop the pass and has given up the most yards through the air. The future Hall of Famer has been terrific in 2021, throwing for 1,436 yards and a 12:3 TD: INT ratio along with 27 rushing yards and two scores over six games in 2021. Rodgers is a surefire QB1 and is set to finish as a top-5 fantasy QB in a plus matchup against Washington.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore has morphed into an elite receiver this season. Moore ranks among the top-seven wideouts in targets, receptions, and receiving yards while on pace to smash his previous career-high of four touchdowns- he currently has three. The former 2018 first-round pick draws a potentially tricky one-on-one matchup this week against Giants corner James Bradberry, though New York's defense as a whole has struggled to contain the passing game. Moore has proven he can win any matchup and should be started as an elite WR1 this week.
Carolina Panthers running back Chuba Hubbard gets a great matchup in Week 7 against the Giants. New York ranks 27th in rush DVOA- and has allowed an average of 29.13 fantasy points per game to running backs, the fifth-most in the league. Hubbard has been a workhorse over the last two weeks, as he has played at least 65 percent of the snaps while averaging 23 touches per contest. In another potential boost to the rookie's value, head coach Matt Rhule spoke this week about making the Panthers a more run-first team moving forward. With RB1-level volume, Hubbard looks poised for a top-15 finish in Week 7.
Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold could be poised to bounce back in Week 7 against the Giants. After a hot start, Darnold has fallen back down to earth, as he has thrown just four touchdowns while tossing six interceptions in his last three games played. To make matters worse, head coach Matt Rhule has spoken this week about running the ball more- or essentially taking the ball out of Darnold's hands to limit mistakes. Even on potentially fewer passing attempts, the USC product is perfectly capable of delivering a solid fantasy line against a Giants defense that has surrendered the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Darnold is a sleeper option in Week 7.
Cleveland Browns kicker Chase McLaughlin made one of his two field goals in a 17-14 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 7. Kicking in windy conditions, McLaughlin made a 52-yard field goal at the end of the first quarter and had a field goal blocked by Denver near the end of the second. McLaughlin also chipped in two extra points in the win. The veteran has been an excellent find for Cleveland this season, going 10-for-11 on his field-goal tries and making all 17 of his extra points. He will take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 8.
The Cleveland Browns defense played well in a 17-14 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 7's Thursday night game. Cleveland held the Broncos to 223 yards of total offense while picking up two sacks and an interception in the win. The Browns were led by Myles Garrett, who posted 1.5 sacks, with Jadeveon Clowney chipping in on the second sack. It wasn't all good news, however, as the team lost top cornerback Denzel Ward to a hamstring injury in the fourth quarter. Ward is headed for an MRI on Friday. Cleveland now has 10 days to rest up before an important divisional game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 8.
Cleveland Browns tight end Austin Hooper led his team in receiving in a 17-14 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 7's Thursday night game. Hooper wound up catching two of three targets for 42 yards in the win on a windy evening in Cleveland. The veteran tight end did most of his damage on a 34-yard reception on Cleveland's second play of the game, a drive that ended in a D'Ernest Johnson touchdown. Hooper broke a streak of three straight games with less than 20 receiving yards in the win. The veteran tight end will look to build upon his performance in Week 8 when he takes on the Pittsburgh Steelers in a divisional clash.
Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku caught both of his targets for 18 yards in a 17-14 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 7's Thursday Night Football game. Njoku showed his athleticism on a short screen pass on a third-and-nine in which he exploded up the field for a first down on a 12-yard gain, but he was mostly quiet after that. The veteran tight end hasn't done much since going off for 149 yards and a touchdown in Week 5, having corralled just three balls in the two games since. He will look for another big outing in Week 8's important divisional clash against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones (groin) and cornerback Denzel Ward (hamstring) are headed for MRIs on Friday after both got injured on Thursday night. Peoples-Jones pulled his groin during pre-game warmups and was held out of his team's 17-14 win over the Denver Broncos. Ward left during the fourth quarter of the win with a hamstring injury and did not return. The team, and fantasy gamers, will know more about the status of both players after their respective MRIs on Friday.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry caught five of eight targets for 37 yards in a 17-14 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 7. Landry was making his first appearance since Week 2 when he sprained his knee and instantly stepped in to lead the team in targets in the Thursday night win. The veteran wideout did provide a scare late in the game as he had to limp off of the field following his final catch of the game. He appeared to be in significant pain while being attended to by trainers on the sidelines but he eventually was able to return to action. Head coach Kevin Stefanski told reporters after the game that Landry was shaken up on the play and that he will be okay. Landry now has 10 days to rest before Cleveland takes on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 8.
Los Angeles Rams running back Sony Michel (shoulder) was a limited participant at Thursday's practice. He missed Wednesday's practice with a shoulder issue and was spotted in a red non-contact jersey on Thursday. The former New England Patriot has rushed for 205 rushing yards and a touchdown while hauling in four passes for 20 yards in his six games in 2021. Michel is the clear backup to Darrell Henderson Jr. and is a borderline flex play at best in Week 7 against the Detroit Lions. Fantasy managers should check Friday's injury report for Michel's official status as the 26-year-old is considered questionable for Week 7.
Cleveland Browns running back Demetric Felton carried the ball twice for 13 yards and added three receptions for 21 yards in a 17-14 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 7's Thursday Night Football contest. Felton showed explosiveness on his limited touches but mostly stood by and watched as teammate D'Ernest Johnson operated as the team's lead back in the win. The carries were the first of Felton's NFL career while he now has 11 receptions for 111 yards and a touchdown through six games. Considering his usage on Thursday night, Felton is unlikely to see a very large role in Week 8 when the Browns take on the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. caught two of six targets for 23 yards in a Week 7 win over the Denver Broncos on Thursday night. Beckham, who was originally not expected to play through a shoulder injury, seemed to be affected by the issue as he committed a drop and slipped on another incompletion that most likely would have been caught had he remained on his feet. Beckham also aggravated his shoulder injury trying to make a diving catch and appeared to be in considerable pain, although he was able to return to the contest after halftime. Trending in the wrong direction, Beckham will be a shaky flex option in Week 8 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but at least he gets 10 days to heal up now.
Cleveland Browns running back D'Ernest Johnson turned in an excellent performance in a 17-14 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 7's Thursday night game. Johnson carried the ball 22 times for 146 yards and a touchdown while adding 22 yards on two catches in the win. The veteran back found the end zone on a four-yard run to cap off his team's first drive of the game. Johnson showed nice burst, agility, and power while running around and through attempted tackles in the win on Thursday evening. The Browns could be getting Nick Chubb (calf) back ahead of their Week 8 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers but Johnson should remain in the mix with Kareem Hunt (calf) still on the injured reserve list. Either way, Johnson needs to be rostered in all leagues moving forward.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Case Keenum completed 21 of 33 passes for 199 yards and a touchdown in a 17-14 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 7's Thursday Night Football game. Keenum, who drew the start with Baker Mayfield reportedly dealing with a fracture and a torn labrum in his left shoulder, mostly played well for Cleveland. His lone touchdown pass was a one-yard toss to fullback Johnny Stanton. He did dodge a bullet when the Browns recovered his fumble into the Denver end zone on a rushing attempt. With news coming out that Mayfield's shoulder injury is worse than initially reported, it wouldn't be a big surprise to see Keenum back out there in Week 8 when the Browns face the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Denver Broncos defense had promise heading into a Week 7 Thursday night matchup against a Cleveland Browns offense missing quarterback Baker Mayfield (shoulder) and running backs Nick Chubb (calf) and Kareem Hunt (calf). Cleveland's No. 1 rushing offense didn't miss a beat, as No. 3 back D'Ernest Johnson rushed for 146 yards and a score on 22 carries. The Browns rushed for a total of 184 yards in the 17-14 win. Denver's D allowed only 17 points, but they failed to record a turnover and managed just one sack on backup quarterback Case Keenum. The Broncos defense has created only one turnover during their four-game losing streak. The silver lining from Thursday is that top pass-rusher Von Miller (ankle) isn't expected to miss time after suffering an ugly looking ankle injury in the first half. Still, even if Miller plays in Week 8 against the Washington Football Team, this defense has become unreliable.