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Week 2 Passing Matchups

by Justin Howe, Devin Knotts, and Keith Roberts, Exclusive to Footballguys.com

Jump to Rushing Matchups

Great Matchups: [ARI] [NE] [OAK]
Good Matchups: [ATL] [BAL] [BUF] [GB] [LAR] [NO] [SEA]
Neutral Matchups: [DEN] [JAX] [KC] [LAC] [MIN]
Tough Matchups: [CHI] [CIN] [CLE] [DET] [HOU] [MIA] [NYG] [NYJ] [PIT] [SF] [TB] [WAS]
Bad Matchups: [CAR] [DAL] [IND] [PHI] [TEN]


PLEASE NOTE: This does NOT replace the Cheatsheet ranking. The Cheatsheet rankings are the final say on where we see a player for that week. The Matchup Breakdowns are simply one more tool in the box when it comes to helping choose your lineup.

Also note, just because a player has a "bad" matchup, it does NOT mean he's not a starter in your league. If Aaron Rodgers is playing the toughest pass defense in the league, that just means he's got a tough matchup that week. He's also your starter unless you're loaded at QB. In the same way, if the worst QB on your roster has a "great" matchup that week, it doesn't necessarily mean he's your starter. It means we think he'll fare better than normal that week.

Bottom line is that the cheatsheets are the final say.


Arizona Cardinals Passing Offense at Indianapolis Colts Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

The Cardinals and Carson Palmer disappointed in the season opener as Palmer threw three interceptions in this game while only completing 56% of his passes. It is hard to judge an offense after one week, but this is an offense that looked like their talent is aging rapidly. Larry Fitzgerald saw 13 targets in this game, but many of these were forced targets which were not catchable passes as he only caught 46% of his targets. This is still an unknown as Quandre Diggs was a poor cornerback last year but is just 24 years old and could be developing into a better corner.

The Colts were devastated with the injury to Vontae Davis who remains week to week. This was a critical injury for an already thin secondary which allowed the 6th most passing yards per game in 2016. The secondary showed that the injury is going to potentially have a big impact as Jared Goff had a terrific game last week against the Colts as he threw for 306 yards on only 29 attempts averaging 10.6 yards per attempt. For context, only one quarterback averaged above 9.0 yards per attempt last season. This secondary looked lost at times and is a perfect spot for Carson Palmer to have a huge rebound game in this one. The team moved Darius Butler to safety in the offseason, which leaves three very poor cornerbacks Rashaan Melvin, Quincy Wilson, and slot cornerback Nate Hairston.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


New England Patriots Passing Offense at New Orleans Saints Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Tom Brady certainly wasn’t at his most efficient in Week 1, melting down in the second half and completing just 16 of his 36 passes. Much of that was due to a phenomenal defensive game plan and effort by Kansas City, who steeled themselves to rush Brady effectively and slow Rob Gronkowski. But we shouldn’t overreact to what could’ve been a much bigger night for Brady and his weapons. Brandin Cooks’ debut went fantastically; he caught just three of his eight targets but had an enormously positive impact on the New England offense. He turned those 3 catches into 88 yards and drew four big penalties from Kansas City’s coverage unit – two of which set up touchdowns. His presence alone is a massive boon for Brady, and the fact that he’s winning matchups at this rate is encouraging for his own numbers. Furthermore, Gronkowski won’t often face an All Pro like Eric Berry going forward, and Chris Hogan will be able to find more room against less aggressive, dynamic defenses.

The Saints dreadful pass defense should help Tom Brady shake off his rough Week 1 more than they’ll prevent him. It’s as porous as they come, and dating back to the start of 2016, opposing passers have enjoyed a 35-yard boost against the Saints. Of their last 17 opponents, 10 have thrown for 296 yards or more, 13 have thrown multiple touchdowns. Without the services of occasional shutdown cornerback Delvin Breaux, who’s played in just 6 games since 2015, there’s little hope for the secondary to shut down functional passing games.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Oakland Raiders Passing Offense vs New York Jets Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

The Raiders passing offense picked up where it left off last season as Derek Carr looked very sharp in the season opener. Both Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper saw a significant amount of volume in this game as between the two of them they had 20 of the 32 pass attempts in this game. The one negative is that Cooper really struggled with drops as the team threw to him three straight plays in the end zone and all three were catchable passes from Carr that Cooper was unable to bring in. Cooper who has had touchdown issues in the past and it remains to be seen if he will continue to get those opportunities if he is unable to successfully complete the touchdowns.

The Jets defense is one that if you just look at passing yards per game it does not tell the full story. The Jets were 17th in the league in terms of passing yards allowed and 31st in the league against the pass in terms of DVOA. Yards per game is a better fantasy indication of how the team performs, but DVOA is a better indication of how a team truly performs in terms of how strong their defense is. Marcus Maye is a rookie safety who still has some development to do to become an average starter as a safety in the NFL. At the cornerback position, Michael Crabtree is in the better of the two matchups as he lines up on the left side and should see a lot of second-year corner Juston Burris in this game. Amari Cooper will see a lot of Morris Claiborne who is still a below average cornerback but is coming off of his best year in the NFL.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Atlanta Falcons Passing Offense vs Green Bay Packers Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

The Falcons will face the Packers this week in their home opener at the new Atlanta Mercedes-Benz stadium in a game sporting one of the highest point totals of the week. Matt Ryan picked up right where he left off last season with another 300-yard game, passing for 321 yards and no interceptions. Ryan only threw for one touchdown though, while 88 of his passing yards came from one chunk play. The Falcons offensive line struggled in pass protection, allowing Ryan to take 10 hits and two sacks with a number of hurried pass attempts throughout the day. Julio Jones struggled to find space against Chicago’s zone coverage, only drawing five targets with four receptions for 66 yards. Mohamed Sanu led the team in targets and receptions, but it was tight end Austin Hooper who led in yardage with 128 receiving yards on only two receptions.

The Packers defense did a great job at limiting Russell Wilson in Week 1, holding the Seahawks to only 158 passing yards and no touchdowns. Much of this can be attributed to the relentless pass rush led by Nick Perry and Mike Daniels, racking up six of the team’s seven quarterback hits and all three sacks. The Falcons offensive line is far more talented than the Seahawks unit, but they did struggle in pass protection last week against the Bears. The Packers still have a weaker than average secondary with a couple of subpar cornerbacks, which is something that both Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu should be able to exploit as long as Matt Ryan has time to find them. Ryan racked up 392 yards and four touchdowns in the NFC Championship game against Green Bay last season, and their secondary did not exactly improve during the offseason.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Baltimore Ravens Passing Offense vs Cleveland Browns Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Joe Flacco wasn’t asked to do much in Week 1’s ugly knockout of the Bengals, but that was script-related. This is definitely an offense that wants to throw – they’ve put more passes into the air over the last two seasons than any other team. And with Flacco’s downfield-oriented receiving corps, he’ll gradually start generating more and more potential impact with his passing than we saw last week. Jeremy Maclin got loose for a long touchdown, but it came on a quick slant; Flacco only threw once to the 15-yard level all day. As that number rises, we’ll see opportunities for Maclin, Mike Wallace, and Breshad Perriman to push the field and make plays. The question of his full-season value lies in the health of his back – as well as his conditioning after missing most of the preseason. But he looked reasonably efficient all-around in Week 1. For the moment, it’s safe to expect voluminous passing, but downfield dynamism is still a risky prospect.

This remains a pass defense to target; they’ve allowed more touchdown passes than any other team since the start of last season. Joe Haden’s release was the right move for the Browns – his on-field play is remarkably inconsistent and no longer worth his hefty Cleveland salary. But the team now lacks coverage chops; Jamar Taylor was solid last year, but was utterly shredded in Week 1 by Antonio Brown. And the safeties are poor in coverage behind them, leaving the defense open to splash plays and touchdowns on a massive scale. Gregg Williams’ presence bodes well for their future, of course. And It was encouraging that the team kept Martavis Bryant from producing anything of note last week. But there’s still no pass rush and little coverage ability to speak of here, and they’ll remain a leaky matchup for opposing fantasy players.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Buffalo Bills Passing Offense at Carolina Panthers Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

In this run first offense, Tyrod Taylor gets most of his value through his legs instead of his passing ability as Taylor over his last 17 games has completed less than 20 passes in 13 of those games. In week one of this season, Taylor completed just 57% of his passes, but was able to throw for two touchdowns utilizing Charles Clay as his primary receiver as he had 9 of the 28 targets in this game. Taylor and newly acquired Jordan Matthews are still looking to get acclimated as Matthews had just three targets in this game. This is an offense that lost its top four wide receivers from last year. Charles Clay will continue to be the most familiar target to Taylor and will compete each week to be the most targeted receiver until Taylor and Matthews get on the same page as Matthews missed most of the preseason.

On the defensive side of the ball, Carolina is coming off a very impressive performance holding Brian Hoyer to just 166 yards passing. This was a significant improvement compared to 2016 where Carolina ranked as the fourth worst pass defense in the NFL. The issue is that the team has not made any significant personnel improvements since last year so they are still running out the same secondary as last season. The Panthers cornerbacks are led by 2016 second round pick James Bradberry and third round pick Daryl Worley both looked improved from last year in their second year but it remains to see how this secondary will fare as they face better competition as Brian Hoyer and the 49ers is not a prolific pass offense. While the Bills are not a pass heavy approach they may have success against these corners. The Panthers allowed the second most fantasy points to tight ends in 2016 which they bring back the same linebacking group as last year. This could be an opportunity for Charles Clay to get involved in the passing game.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Green Bay Packers Passing Offense at Atlanta Falcons Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Green Bay will visit the Falcons this week in a game with one of the highest point totals of the week. Aaron Rodgers figures to be a big part of that point total after coming off a 300+ yard outing against the elite Seahawks defense in Week 1. Randall Cobb led Packers receivers as he caught nine balls for 85 yards out of the slot last week. Jordy Nelson was close behind with 79 yards and the Packers only touchdown through the air. This week, Ty Montgomery will be a big threat in what is a very favorable matchup for him. The Falcons struggled last season against pass-catching running backs, allowing them the league’s most receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. Chicago’s Tarik Cohen had his way with the Falcons by hauling in eight receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown. This bodes well for Ty Montgomery, who is most noted for his pass-catching ability out of the backfield.

The Falcons cornerbacks didn’t have much of a challenge in Week 1 against an injury-ridden Bears receiving corps, with most of the Bears passing yards coming from their running backs and tight ends on check downs passes. The Falcons made little adjustments in the offseason to one of the worst secondaries in the league, so this week will be a true test to see if that secondary has taken any steps forward.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Los Angeles Rams Passing Offense vs Washington Redskins Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Jared Goff finished last week with the third highest quarterback rating of 117.9 as he led the Rams to a blowout win over the Colts. Goff had a forgettable rookie season in 2016, but he showed improvement during this year’s preseason and solidified that in this Week 1 outing. Goff looked particularly good throwing the deep ball, completing four of his five attempts of 20 or more yards. Rookie receiver Cooper Kupp had a spectacular NFL debut, hauling in four receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown as he proved to be one of Goff’s favorite receiving targets. Sammy Watkins had had an efficient outing, while Todd Gurley managed to haul in five of his six targets for 56 yards through the air.

The Redskins secondary had a poor showing in Week 1 against the Eagles, led by poor coverage and missed tackles from both safeties Deshazor Everett and D.J. Swearinger. The cornerback unit played well on the outsides, but the Redskins really struggled to cover receivers over the middle. This matchup bodes particularly well for Cooper Kupp, as he played most of his snaps in Week 1 out of the slot. Sammy Watkins should draw coverage from Josh Norman. While Norman has not proven to be what he was in Carolina, he is still a solid cornerback that downgrades any receiver drawing his shadow.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


New Orleans Saints Passing Offense vs New England Patriots Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

After a virtually inconsequential Week 1, Drew Brees will be happy to see the Superdome. Brees’ home/road splits come with a lot of history: over the past 6 seasons, he’s averaged home boosts of 64% in touchdown rate, 13% in yards per attempt, and 31% in standard fantasy scoring. He’ll be happy to see this Patriots secondary, as well. They’ve been torn apart by the deep ball since the start of the preseason, and Alex Smith thoroughly worked them over downfield in Week 1. Brees no longer throws to Brandin Cooks, but his receivers possess plenty of downfield polish and will certainly make plays on his pinpoint throws. He’s also loaded with underneath targets, including Coby Fleener and entrenched passing-down back Alvin Kamara, that extend plays and drives. He’ll certainly miss Cooks, who now suits up across the field. But his outlook is roughly as stable – especially at home – as it’s been any other week in recent memory. One concern is that Brees will be contending with a patchwork offensive line missing both tackles in this game as Zach Streif and Terron Armstead are unlikely to play.

The New England secondary was roasted on and off throughout the preseason, then absolutely shredded in Week 1 by Alex Smith, who completed deep-ball touchdowns of 78 and 75 yards. Cornerbacks Malcolm Butler and Stephon Gilmore had shaky debuts, but their lack of depth is glaring, and the toothless pass rush isn’t helping the secondary at all. A Bill Belichick defense should always be expected to tweak and improve, but for the time being, it’s fairly safe to boost opposing passing games up a notch from week to week. Shootouts like last week’s should be close to the norm for much of 2017.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Seattle Seahawks Passing Offense vs San Francisco 49ers Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Russell Wilson and the Seahawks receivers really struggled against the Packers in Week 1, due primarily to the bad offensive line play that kept Wilson under constant pressure for this entire game. Wilson only managed to pass for 158 yards with zero touchdowns. Paul Richardson was the most heavily targeted Seahawks wide receiver, while Doug Baldwin led the team by hauling in all four of his targets for 63 receiving yards. Jimmy Graham received a number of targets, however, he could only convert on three of them for a grand total of only eight yards.

The 49ers have a less talented edge rushing combo than Green Bay did last week, so the Seahawks should have an easier matchup on the line here. The likely absence of Reuben Foster (ankle) will be a big one for the 49ers though, as Foster was showing a real knack for his position with three tackles and a pass break up before leaving late in the first quarter. This secondary allowed the only two touchdowns in the game last week, including a 40-yard bomb in the first quarter. The 49ers secondary overall looked out of sync, as they appear to still be learning how to operate under a new coaching staff and defensive scheme. Look for these growing pains to continue as the Seahawks welcome them to Seattle this week.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Denver Broncos Passing Offense vs Dallas Cowboys Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Trevor Siemien managed the Broncos to a win in Week 1, passing for 219 yards and two touchdowns while showing very impressive mobility throughout the game that included a rushing touchdown in the second quarter. Demaryius Thomas was Siemien’s favorite target, nabbing five of eight targets for 67 yards. Siemien connected with slot receiver Bennie Fowler for both passing touchdowns, while Emmanuel Sanders had a relatively quiet evening as he struggled against the Chargers cornerbacks.

The Cowboys secondary came into the season with some question marks after losing four defensive backs in the offseason, but they had a solid outing in Week 1 with a significant amount of support from a strong pass rush. Orlando Scandrick suffered a broken bone in his hand and had to leave in the second quarter, however, Anthony Brown stepped in and did a fine job in Scandrick’s absence, allowing only one catch while tacking on an interception. Scandrick’s status is worth monitoring, as both Emmanuel Sanders and Bennie Fowler see a bump in value if he sits.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Offense vs Tennessee Titans Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Jaguars passing attack showed us much of what they did last season, minus the turnovers, in Week 1 against the Texans. To their credit, it was a very tough matchup against a stout defense—and they did what was needed to hold on to the win, but it was a statistically horrifying performance for fantasy purposes. Blake Bortles completed only 52% of his 21 pass attempts for 125 yards and a lone passing touchdown to fullback Tommy Bohanon. Allen Hurns was the only wide receiver to catch multiple passes, amassing only 42 yards to lead the team. A big part of this passing inefficiency was the loss of Allen Robinson early in this game, who we now know will miss the remainder of this season with a torn ACL. This means both Allen Hurns and Marquise Lee should see a big bump in usage going into Week 2 against a vulnerable Titans secondary.

The Titans secondary had a tough outing against the Raiders, allowing 262 passing yards and two touchdowns in addition to a number of significant receptions as four separate Raiders caught a pass of at least 19 yards. Former Jaguars safety Johnathan Cyprien really struggled in coverage, as he allowed Derek Carr to complete all four pass attempts thrown his way for a total of 75 yards. Rookie cornerback Adoree Jackson made some very solid plays though, defending a couple of key passes while up against Amari Cooper. New cornerback Logan Ryan, while only logging one tackle, also played relatively well in coverage.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Kansas City Chiefs Passing Offense vs Philadelphia Eagles Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Smith’s pair of 70+ yard touchdown throws were stunning, but not out of this world – he’s a better deep-ball placer than he’s given credit for. Last year he finished 12th among regular quarterbacks in completion rate beyond 20 yards; the fact that he often chooses not to throw downfield doesn’t invalidate his relative success when he does. Now that he’s armed with an electrifying deep threat in Tyreek Hill, we’re seeing the chunks of dynamism in Smith we’ve always laughed at. Hill is a true spark plug, moved all over the formation to create mismatches, and he’s utilized both underneath and down the field. Few NFL cornerbacks can handle his sub-4.3 speed one-on-one, and front sevens across the league are up nights trying to corral his backfield and horizontal games. All told, Smith’s ceiling may be capped by volume – Week 1 represented just his 7th 300-yard passing day over 13 NFL seasons. But he and Andy Reid are adept at tweaking a play to find the mismatch, so there’s a lot more vitality in this passing game than many think. And Smith’s supporting weapons – Hill, tight end extraordinaire Travis Kelce, rookie running back Kareem Hunt – all boast strong weekly ceilings as a result.

With new coordinator Jim Schwartz on board, the Eagles pass defense has improved mightily since finishing 28th in passing defense in 2015. They rose to 13th last year and intercepted 16 passes along the way, and they kicked off 2017 in solid fashion, stifling Kirk Cousins and the Washington passing game in Week 1. Cousins managed just 5.38 adjusted yards per attempt and committed 3 turnovers. The Eagles registered 4 sacks on the day and snuffed out a crucial second-half drive by intercepting Cousins in the end zone. Boasting a deep, dynamic pass rush and playmakers in the secondary like Malcolm Jenkins and Jalen Mills, they’ll be a weekly headache for opposing offenses interested in holding onto the ball.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Los Angeles Chargers Passing Offense vs Miami Dolphins Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Philip Rivers and the Chargers passing game have declined of late, and it may not be a fluke. Dating back to the start of 2016, they sit 17th in the NFL in adjusted yards per attempt, a marked dip from Rivers’ typical standing. Some of that stems from Keenan Allen’s 15-game absence, of course, and they’re a better passing game with him on the field. But Rivers’ age and the shoddy state of his offensive line could be harbingers of an extended drop-off. Allen dominates volume, but doesn’t inject a lot of explosiveness into the offense. He’s settling in as a trusted yet limited target from the slot – exceptionally valuable to the Chargers, but capped in eruptive upside. Their best shot at downfield dynamism probably lies in Tyrell Williams, who was truly great in his first NFL action in 2016. Williams averaged a studly 8.9 yards per target and tied for sixth league-wide in receptions of 20+ yards, catching 7 touchdowns along the way. He’s talented enough to provide dimension to the offense, if only a complementary role, but the Chargers look like only a slightly above-average passing offense right now.

The Dolphins secondary is becoming a later-stage home for formerly elite cornerbacks. Byron Maxwell, once the prize of the 2015 NFL free agency class, will battle his 2014 counterpart, Alterraun Verner, for one of the starting spots. Maxwell was quite solid in his Dolphins debut, and youngster Xavien Howard posted a strong half-season on the other side, but this was still a shaky unit last year on the whole. They were picked apart down the stretch, allowing big passing days to the mediocre offenses of San Francisco, Baltimore, and Buffalo. Reshad Jones’ return will definitely help their outlook, but they’ll likely struggle sporadically. Their tight end defense is definitely one to target – especially with Timmons and Maualuga pressed into hefty roles. Last season they allowed 60.3 yards per game and 10 touchdowns to the position, so the Chargers duo of Hunter Henry and Antonio Gates could feast.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Minnesota Vikings Passing Offense at Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Sam Bradford was scintillating in Week 1, and this may well serve as his elusive Year 8 breakout. Perpetually jammed into doomed offenses with middling skill-position talent, Bradford looks reborn in Minnesota. He boasts multiple receivers who can win downfield – he’s never had that in the NFL – and has been especially accurate on deep balls of late. Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen make for a great, versatile duo all over the field, while Kyle Rudolph is a strong red-zone force. That dynamism boosts his ceiling, which has always been limited, and brightens the outlook for the entire offense. The passing game has now reached 300 yards in 3 of its last 5 games, and the team has registered 25+ points in 4 of them.

This Steelers defense is blossoming into a true force, but the coverage unit is still finding its way, so opportunities are definitely there. New cornerback Joe Haden received the team’s ceremonial game ball, but that was narrative-driven in a revenge matchup with the Browns. He was fairly average in Week 1, with Corey Coleman finding plenty of success against him. He’s no longer a week-by-week shutdown guy, and his presence doesn’t ding opposing passing games. What does pay big dividends, however, is the elite pass-rushing unit the Steelers are assembling. Rookie T.J. Watt looks fantastic, Bud Dupree could return Sunday, and the front seven is packed with opportunistic gap-shooters. It makes sense that only 4 of their last 13 opponents have topped 250 yards through the air.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Chicago Bears Passing Offense at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Bears in week one looked better through the air than what we had anticipated going into the season as while Mike Glennon was not great he was a game manager and threw the ball 40 times in this game. The Bears had a tough injury to starting receiver Kevin White which hurts their already thin receiving group. The Bears are going to go with their running backs as their primary receivers it appears as 17 of the 40 targets went to Cohen and Howard in week one and with the White injury expect more of that to continue as with one of the weakest receiving groups in the NFL the Bears are going to have to get creative to get players open as Kendall Wright and Josh Bellamy will likely be the starting wide receivers heading into week two.

Tampa Bay did not play in week one, so we are still working off of 2016 stats for this game. Aside from Derek Carr’s 513-yard Week 8 extravaganza, the Buccaneers performed relatively against the pass in 2016. They ultimately allowed the 11th-most passing yards in football, but that Oakland game skewed the overall rankings a bit. It was encouraging to see that, from Weeks 12-14, they faced Russell Wilson, Philip Rivers, and Drew Brees in succession, yet allowed an average of just 211.0 yards to the trio. With a pass rush on the rise – they registered 38 sacks last seasons and added pocket-pusher Chris Baker to the mix – they could make things chaotic for the Bears offensive line which is currently ranked 22nd without Kyle Long. Tampa Bay also intercepted 17 passes last year, fourth-most in the league. With how weak the wide receivers are for the Bears this should be a prime opportunity for the Buccaneers to have a great game.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Cincinnati Bengals Passing Offense vs Houston Texans Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Andy Dalton’s Week 1 face-plant was quite surprising. Over his previous * games with both A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert in the lineup, he’d posted a stout 8.61 adjusted yards per attempt – then somehow a -0.3 mark last Sunday. A swing that wild – especially at home – is one I’m generally inclined to chalk up as an aberration, and I tend to keep my expectations in place. Dalton, Green, and Eifert make for a dynamic trio of playmakers; few receivers create as many splash plays as Green, and virtually no one produces touchdowns on Eifert’s level. But for all of that ceiling, we can’t lose sight of this offense’s warts. There’s a lot of concern over the offensive line, and Dalton is hard to view as a weekly plug-and-play for high efficiency. He’ll be hounded by pass rushes all year, threatening drives left and right and clamping down on his ability to throw downfield.

The Texans didn’t coax much of a passing game from Blake Bortles and the Jags, who jumped ahead early and came sharply off the gas. But it was encouraging that Houston didn’t allow a deep ball to connect; in fact, since the start of 2016, only Denver has allowed fewer completions of 20+ yards. This pass defense bordered on the elite last season and adds J.J. Watt back to the mix; the loss of cornerback A.J. Bouye may not be felt much with this pass rush in place. The Bengals will almost surely throw more this week than the Jaguars did in Week 1, but the sledding will be tough. It’s worth noting that, in Week 16 of last year, these Texans allowed Andy Dalton and Brandon LaFell to hook up for an 86-yard score, but virtually nothing else (just 182 yards on Dalton’s 40 attempts).

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Cleveland Browns Passing Offense at Baltimore Ravens Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

DeShone Kizer wasn’t great in his NFL debut, but he performed toward the higher end of the first-start scale. He took seven sacks and threw a bad interception, but also led a late-game touchdown drive entirely with his arm. At this point, Kizer is merely getting up to speed and making the most of the reps with his many young receivers. Besides his mobility, aggressiveness is his most fantasy-attractive trait, so we’ll see some sporadic fireworks as he grows more comfortable pushing the field. He certainly has the personnel to create plays, stocked with dynamism at every skill position. Much of his growth as a stat-stuffer hinges upon Corey Coleman’s co-development, and the duo connected well in the opener, hitting on 5 of 6 targets for 53 yards. Coleman made several key catches, both down the field (beating Joe Haden for 19 and 23 yards) and underneath (a tough quick-slant touchdown catch in heavy traffic). If he keeps winning one-on-one battles down the field, Kizer should have a few big stat lines ahead, if not this Sunday.

The Ravens were merciless to Andy Dalton in Week 1, forcing him into 5 turnovers and registering 5 sacks. Their pass rush isn’t as good as last Sunday suggested – and they’ll be facing a Browns line generally stronger than that of last weeks’ Bengals. The secondary was especially active on the ball in Week 1, with their lead cornerback trio combining for three of the team’s four interceptions. They’ll be similarly honed in on rookie DeShone Kizer, who impressed in his debut but will face a strong man-coverage unit this week. This defense will again be fiery and aggressive, and they should force Kizer into difficult progressions and a few errant throws.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Detroit Lions Passing Offense at New York Giants Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Matthew Stafford led the Lions offense with 292 passing yards and four touchdowns (with one interception) in their Week 1 victory over the Cardinals. Stafford looked sharp in the season debut, particularly in the fourth quarter as he completed nearly 90% of his passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns. Golden Tate was Stafford’s favorite target, leading the team with 10 receptions for 107 yards. Tate failed to find the end zone though, with two touchdowns going to rookie Kenny Golladay in his NFL debut. Marvin Jones found the end zone once despite being covered up by Patrick Peterson for most of the day, while Theo Riddick hauled in six receptions with a receiving touchdown out of the Lions backfield.

The Lions will match up against a talented Giants secondary that did an excellent job in shutting down Cowboys receivers in Week 1. Janoris Jenkins held Dez Bryant to only two receptions on seven targets for 43 yards, with 35 of those yards coming from a single missed tackle. Safety Landon Collins also looked on top of his game as he shut down every receiver he covered, allowing only one catch. Matthew Stafford should expect to be under constant pressure against this talented Giants pass rush while Marvin Jones should draw the majority of coverage from Jenkins. Both Golladay and Tate will also draw difficult matchups here against this top notch Giants secondary.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Houston Texans Passing Offense at Cincinnati Bengals Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Simply put, The Texans “boast” a woeful quarterback depth chart, one that rivals those of the Jets and 49ers. Both Tom Savage and Deshaun Watson are wholly ineffective passers with drive-killing tendencies, and neither looks likely to captain this passing game to much success. Savage was terrible in his brief Week 1 work, but Watson didn’t fare well in his stead, taking 4 sacks over 2 quarters and posting an anemic 3.4 adjusted yards per attempt. He’ll almost certainly start Thursday’s tilt with the Bengals, but there’s little reason to get excited about his arm potential. One of the draft’s weakest throwers by velocity, Watson doesn’t look like a big-play creator and will struggle to maximize DeAndre Hopkins’ downfield ability. It doesn’t help that left tackle Duane Brown’s holdout is torpedoing the offensive line, leaving Watson to learn the NFL pass rush in hyper speed. Expect continued reliance on quick-hitting underneath routes, with shaky accuracy stifling the receivers’ fantasy potential up and down the field. Hopkins is an elite on-ball receiver who can create some degree of magic on his own, but his chances at efficiency look precarious at the moment.

Cincinnati looked awful in Week 1, but the pass defense wasn’t their concern by any stretch. The Bengals weren’t tested downfield by Joe Flacco and the Ravens in Week 1 – he attempted just one throw beyond 15 yards all day – but their own play deserves some credit for that hold. The Texans’ flimsy, underdeveloped passing game won’t provide much more of a challenge, so the Bengals are in a position to absolutely tee off on Deshaun Watson. They boast a strong pass rush and intercepted 14 passes last season, and Watson has struggled thus far with ball placement. They do, however, tend to allow a lot of room (and receptions) to running backs in the flats.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Miami Dolphins Passing Offense at Los Angeles Chargers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

With Jay Cutler under center, the Dolphins can expect plenty of downfield football – Cutler isn’t a huge fan of checking down or throwing quick slants. In other words, he’s the polar opposite of Ryan Tannehill, who was almost loath to throw downfield. As a result, we should see a noticeably different passing game under Cutler, one in which he attempts to force the offense’s issue with splash plays. He showed a lot of interest in DeVante Parker over the preseason, so it’s safe to expect the two will look to connect in Week 2 – and that slot extraordinaire Jarvis Landry’s role is up in the air. With such a shift at quarterback, it’s hard to tell just how effective they’ll be off the bat. But they’re built to push the football, so we can expect plenty of fireworks – or, at the very least, attempts at fireworks.

The Chargers boast two shutdown cornerbacks in Casey Hayward and Jason Verrett who offer both blanket coverage ability and jump-the-route dynamism. They did a great job against Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders in Week 1; the Broncos duo combined for just 8 receptions and 93 yards on 14 targets. With Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram providing a consistent pass rush, there’s room for growth into one of the NFL’s best pass defenses. They led the league in interceptions last season, and they’ve now held 6 of their last 8 opponents under 250 passing yards. Jay Cutler’s gunslinger style plays right into what the Chargers do.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


New York Giants Passing Offense vs Detroit Lions Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Eli Manning played very poorly without Odell Beckham Jr last week against the Cowboys. Manning finished with only 217 passing yards and one interception despite his 37 pass attempts. The Giants receivers often struggled to find space, forcing Manning to find Shane Vereen as a check-down option nine times. Manning also faced very consistent pressure as his offensive tackles struggled to defend against a strong Cowboys pass rush. Brandon Marshall was invisible until a garbage time 10-yard reception on the Giants final possession. Sterling Shepard had a much better game with eight targets for seven receptions and 44 yards.

The Lions defense played very well against the pass last week, holding Carson Palmer to only 5.6 yards per attempt while forcing three interceptions. The pass rush was very consistent, with Palmer under pressure on nearly every play. Second-year defensive end Anthony Zettel was a big part of this success, terrorizing Carson Palmer for most of this game despite only securing one sack to show for it. The Lions secondary also looked solid as they are led by elite cornerback Darius Slay. The secondary defended a league-leading 11 passes while picking off three, one of which was returned for a touchdown by backup safety Miles Killebrew. The return of Beckham this week will be much needed as the Giants will be up against a tough test.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


New York Jets Passing Offense at Oakland Raiders Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

In week one, the Jets relied on the passing game for a significant portion of this game, but the problem is that Josh McCown and the offense were reluctant to go down the field averaging just 4.8 yards per attempt. This was primarily targeting Jermaine Kearse who was targeted 9 of the teams 39 attempts while fellow receiver Robby Anderson had 8 targets but was only able to catch 4 passes for 22 yards. This is a team that cannot be relied upon on a week to week basis in the passing game as the lack of talent at both the quarterback position and the wide receiver position is evident. The Jets will be without Austin Seferian-Jenkins for another week as the tight end is serving a two game suspension.

The Raiders had low expectations in the secondary heading into week one based on 2016 as the Raiders were the 9th worst pass defense in terms of yards per game and the 8th worst in terms of DVOA last season. Sean Smith continues to grade out as an elite corner for the Raiders and T.J. Carrie out of the slot had a very good week one. This is a secondary that based on talent alone should easily be able to cover the Jets weak wide receiver group.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Offense vs Minnesota Vikings Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

This Steelers passing game vacillates from one-dimensional and sluggish to dynamic and record-threatening. We saw flashes of the great in Week 1 – all from Antonio Brown, who provided big catch after big catch and drew a long pass interference penalty to set up the team’s final touchdown. But there were two key elements we didn’t see: Martavis Bryant winning battles across the field from Brown, and LeVeon Bell creating chunk plays out of the backfield. Of course, those are volatile elements that we know those two are fully capable of. Both Bryant and Bell are shaking off various degrees of rust, and we’ll certainly see (some of) the expected fireworks from both. Still, it’s hard to be fully confident in this passing game until those two are on track. Brown is fantastic and a matchup-proof play every week, but this offense needs more dynamism before we can treat it as a consistently great one. The Week 1 success of tight end Jesse James was encouraging – not so much for catch-and-fall specialist James, but on the whole, as we see just how much volume and touchdown opportunity is in play here.

Minnesota’s pass defense borders on the dominant. Last year only two NFL teams allowed fewer passing yards, and only one (Denver) allowed fewer per attempt. The pass rush is enough to deal with on its own – Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter may be the most explosive combo in football. And shutdown cornerback Xavier Rhodes has a way of erasing wideouts from game plans. In 2016, Rhodes was No. 1 among the league’s regular cornerbacks in completion rate and passer rating allowed, slowing or thoroughly shutting down the likes of Odell Beckham Jr. (3 catches for 23 yards), DeAndre Hopkins (5 for 56 and a touchdown), and Kelvin Benjamin (catchless). Rhodes is questionable for Sunday's matchup, but expected to play. Harrison Smith’s successful return to the back end only adds to the matchup nightmare. All told, it’s a minefield for opposing quarterbacks, and even a powerful attack like Pittsburgh’s is no notice.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


San Francisco 49ers Passing Offense at Seattle Seahawks Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Brian Hoyer could not get much going in Week 1, finishing with less than 200 passing yards and no touchdowns with one interception. While Hoyer was efficient in completing nearly 70% of his passes, most of these were short, high percentage throws of less than 10 yards. Pierre Garcon was Hoyer’s top target with six receptions for 81 yards, showing strong chemistry as the clear top option in this offense. The 49ers offensive line also struggled in pass protection, allowing Hoyer to be sacked four times.

The matchup will definitely be challenging this week as Brian Hoyer will be on the road against one of the league’s best defenses in Seattle.

The Seahawks did allow over 300 passing yards to Aaron Rodgers last week, but they forced three turnovers, including one interception, while sacking Rodgers four times. Both starting safeties for Seattle had very solid outings to lead the Seahawks secondary, with Earl Thomas making a very positive return from injury to lead the team in tackles with 11. Facing Seattle’s defense at home is a tough outing for any team, but will be a particularly difficult matchup this week for Brian Hoyer and the 49er’s overall lack of depth at receiver.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Offense vs Chicago Bears Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Jameis Winston is now well-stocked with dynamic weaponry, so the time is now for him to step into the next quarterbacking tier. But it’s anyone’s guess as to whether that pans out. Winston regressed a bit in his second season, dropping just a bit in adjusted yards per attempt and interception rate. And it’s hard to tell just how much DeSean Jackson’s addition will actually boost his deep game. According to Backyard Blitz’s Deep Ball Project, Winston finished 22nd among regular starters in completion rate on passes of 16 yards or more, and 28th when throwing 20+ yards. Winston threw downfield better as a 2015 rookie, and Jackson’s presence will likely boost those numbers. But it’s hard to have much confidence in major impacts beyond Mike Evans. A true target monster who wins downfield battles left and right, Evans always projects to upper-tier volume, and always boasts a strong touchdown outlook. There’s some sneaky appeal in tight ends Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard as well. The Bears were strong in 2016 containing tight ends last year but in week one were prone to the big play as evidenced by Austin Hooper’s 88 yard touchdown. Brate is a touchdown machine with an underrated rapport with Jameis Winston, while Howard showed well in red zone work during the preseason.

The Bears secondary played well in the season opener outside of a broken play to Austin Hooper for 88 yards. The Bears showed that their 2016 pass defense was not a fluke as it rated out as the 7th best pass defense in terms of yards allowed per game, but they were 17th in terms of adjusted DVOA in 2016. Marcus Cooper had a terrific game matching up against Julio Jones for a significant part of week one. Prince Amukamara missed the season opener, and if he were to play in this game it would improve the secondary as Amukamara graded out as an above average corner in 2016.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Washington Redskins Passing Offense at Los Angeles Rams Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Kirk Cousins had a tough start to the season as he could not find a rhythm in the Redskins Week 1 loss to the Eagles. Cousins only mustered 240 passing yards on 40 attempts, with one touchdown and an interception. Cousins did add 30 yards on the ground, but he lost two fumbles in addition to his one interception, with one of those fumbles being returned for a touchdown. Cousins was under consistent pressure from the Eagles defensive line, taking eight hits while getting sacked four times. Terrelle Pryor looked raw on a rather inefficient day, hauling in only six of his team-leading 11 targets with two bad drops. Jordan Reed hauled in five passes for 36 yards in a tough matchup as he continued to struggle through a broken toe. The rest of the Redskins receivers appeared

The Redskins draw a Rams team that looked very solid in Week 1 against the Colts. Keep in mind, however, they were playing an anemic-looking Colts offense without Andrew Luck—any defense could have likely thrived in that matchup. The Rams though do have a very solid secondary to contend with, led by cornerback Trumaine Johnson and safety Lamarcus Joyner—both of whom had interception returns for touchdowns last week. Trumaine Johnson typically does not shadow as he lines up on the left side for most snaps, meaning Pryor would fall under his coverage at times. With both Johnson and Joyner holding down this secondary and newly acquired linebacker Zach Brown covering the middle of the field, the Rams will be in for quite the challenge.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Carolina Panthers Passing Offense vs Buffalo Bills Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Cam Newton in the first game of the season was not forced to throw the ball much as the team got ahead early and coasted to a relatively easy victory against the 49ers. We still do not know how his shoulder is based on this performance as while he was only 14-25 the Panthers were not throwing the ball deep down the field as evidenced by Christian McCaffrey and Greg Olsen leading the team in targets in this game. This is an offense that if they can find a balanced approach of running and passing could be excellent, but we have to take a wait and see approach early on in the season as the health of Cam Newton is still a question. He was not able to meet with the media after the game, and Ron Rivera said that his shoulder was, “Fine” and that he was “rusty”.

The Panthers are in a tough matchup in this game as the Bills secondary is very strong led by corners Tre’Davious White and E.J. Gaines. New addition Micah Hyde is also an excellent safety who should be expected to see some time on Greg Olsen this week. This is a Bills defense who held Josh McCown to just 4.8 yards per attempt in week one and look improved compared to their 2016 defense where they were the 6th best defense in terms of passing yards allowed per game. This is a defense that should be one of the best against the pass this season and one to be cautious of as you're approaching this week.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Dallas Cowboys Passing Offense at Denver Broncos Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

The Cowboys do not typically need to rely much on their passing attack with Dak Prescott under center. The game script in Week 1, however, was more pass heavy than usual, with Prescott attempting 39 passes—tied for the second most in a game during his short NFL career. We saw Prescott struggle with this uptick in pass attempts, particularly with his deep shots as he rarely connected outside of one big play to Brice Butler. Dez Bryant was covered up by Janoris Jenkins for most of the night, allowing for Terrance Williams to lead the team in receiving yards with 68. Jason Witten led the team in receptions with seven while accounting for the Cowboys’ only passing touchdown.

The Broncos own one of the league’s best passing defenses, led by elite cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Chris Harris. Cole Beasley will be in for a challenge out of the slot, while Dez Bryant will often be covered up by Aqib Talib. Starting Safety Darian Stewart and cornerback Brendan Langley both left with injuries in Week 1 and are questionable coming into this week. While those injuries are worth watching, neither will have a big impact on this matchup as the Cowboys receivers will be in for a challenge either way.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Indianapolis Colts Passing Offense vs Arizona Cardinals Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

The Colts starting quarterback is still unknown at the moment as the team replaced Scott Tolzien with Jacoby Brissett in their week one game against the Rams after Tolzien threw for two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns. If it is once again Tolzien, it is hard to get excited about a quarterback who threw for 50% completion rate including two interceptions. If Brissett starts, it will force the defense to respect his arm strength as he completed a 50-yard pass to Donte Moncrief in one of his two completions on the day. It

The Cardinals had one of the best pass defenses in the NFL led by Patrick Peterson and even though they had a rough day against Matthew Stafford, they will be looking to get back to their 2016 form where they allowed the fourth fewest passing yards in the NFL in 2016. Donte Moncrief should see a lot of Patrick Peterson in this game while T.Y. Hilton should see a lot of Tyrann Mathieu from the slot. Mathieu had a poor performance in week one but is consistently rated as one of the top slot corners in the game. The one spot where the Cardinals are vulnerable is Justin Bethel who in 2016 had a poor season as he was fourth in fantasy points allowed per route and his start to 2017 was not much better as he received very poor remarks when covering both Kenny Golladay and Golden Tate.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Philadelphia Eagles Passing Offense at Kansas City Chiefs Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Carson Wentz was great in Week 1, but we’ve seen that movie: Wentz started his rookie 2016 red-hot but fell off mightily after 3 games. He failed to throw downfield with any precision and struggled to convert in the red zone. This Kansas City unit is an exceptionally tall task for Wentz, who’s built most of his young-career success against poor pass defenses like Washington’s. The good news is that Wentz now appears to be surrounded by playmakers. Slot man Nelson Agholor and tight end Zach Ertz were dynamic last week, and Torrey Smith stretched the defense vertically – all while Alshon Jeffery wasn’t even heard from in blanket coverage. All in all, his Week 1 was an encouraging step forward, but we still have to expect inconsistency – and an iffy statistical ceiling. Wentz remains shaky on the deep ball and has yet to establish much timing with his new weaponry. There will be room to beat the aggressive Kansas City defense, especially on deep balls. But Wentz will have to elevate his own downfield game to take advantage.

This is just about as tough a matchup as Carson Wentz could draw. He’s still working to develop accuracy and ball placement, and he’ll take on the defense that led the NFL in interceptions and allowed the second-lowest completion rate in 2016. It’s the same defense that stymied Tom Brady in Week 1, pressuring him mercilessly while erasing Rob Gronkowski and Chris Hogan from the landscape. Wentz and Alshon Jeffery will need to develop creative ways to beat the ballhawking coverage of Marcus Peters, and even inside targets Nelson Agholor and Zach Ertz face difficult matchups.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Tennessee Titans Passing Offense at Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

The Titans threw the ball a whopping 41 times in Week 1 against the Raiders. This was a significant uptick in passing for Marcus Mariota, who averaged 30 pass attempts per game in 2016 with only two games above 40 attempts. Titans receivers were getting open often last week, making a number of chunk plays against the Raiders secondary. Corey Davis and Rishard Matthews had productive outings, Delanie Walker looked very solid here as well racking up a team-leading seven receptions for 76 yards. While Mariota made some bad reads here and there, he moved the ball well overall for most of the game. Where the Titans uncharacteristically struggled here was in red-zone efficiency. After finishing first in the NFL with a 72% red zone touchdown rate last season, the Titans converted a touchdown on only one of three opportunities last week.

The Jaguars pass defense took complete advantage of the Houston offense last week, making for a very long day for most of the Texans offensive players. They held the Texans passers to only 110 combined passing yards while forcing one interception and three fumbles. Calais Campbell was a monster on the edge in his Jaguars debut, racking up five sacks with one hit and one hurry on the quarterback. This week, Campbell should draw a much more difficult matchup against Titans All-Pro right tackle Jack Conklin. The Titans will also have their hands full with this secondary, as the Jaguars have a couple of elite cornerbacks in Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye—both of whom did a solid job limiting Deandre Hopkins to only a 44% catch rate in Week 1.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.