The amount of information you need to sift through on a weekly basis to build some competitive lineups can seem overwhelming. You’re in the right place to get through all of that information in no time, and we have another item for you to add to your arsenal. Each week, we’ll break down the best and worst rushing and passing matchups for Sunday’s main slate of games.
This will allow you to quickly zero in on the top anchors for your lineups, and point out which players you’ll want to avoid as you fill out the rest of your spots. There’s a ton of choices to examine on a weekly basis. The goal of this article is to help you narrow the field of targets down substantially.
Let’s get right to it, starting with the week’s top matchups.
Matchups to Exploit
Oakland Raiders Rushing Offense vs. New York Jets Rushing Defense
The Jets travel to Oakland to take on the Raiders, and it could be a long day for the visitors. The Jets are clearly in rebuilding mode, while the Raiders are a team on the ascent that has its sights on postseason success. Further confirmation of the fact that this game is a huge mismatch on paper comes courtesy of the Vegas odds. As of this writing, the Raiders are favored by 13.5 points, and the game total is set at 43.5 points. In short, the game script calls for the Raiders to get out to a big lead, and then bleed the clock out as the Jets struggle to play catch up.
That obviously bodes well for the fantasy prospects of Marshawn Lynch, but there’s even more to get excited about. The Jets were gashed by LeSean McCoy and the Buffalo Bills last week to the tune of 190 rushing yards. There has been plenty of attrition on both sides of the ball for the Jets, but the club is clearly missing their former defensive stalwarts such as Sheldon Richardson and David Harris. The Raiders and Lynch have to be licking their chops at the thought of the Jets coming to town, and DFSers should be doing the same. Lynch makes for an excellent selection in Week 2, and he’ll save you plenty of salary in comparison to some of the week’s other appealing selections.
Los Angeles Chargers Rushing Offense vs. Miami Dolphins Rushing Defense
We learned plenty by watching the Chargers open up the season against the Broncos on Monday Night Football. For starters, the Chargers look like a team that will be competitive each and every week. They kept things close against a tough defensive opponent, and the offense showed plenty of flashes of how dangerous it can be. Melvin Gordon III is locked in as the bell cow for the Chargers, and he’ll be getting all the work he can handle. That’s fantastic news for fantasy owners, as there will be plenty of weeks in which he’s a plug and play option based on the matchups.
This is one of those weeks. The Dolphins were incredibly soft against the run last year, as 14 of their opponents racked up 100 yards or more on the ground. To add even more appeal, seven of those opponents topped 160 yards. While we can assume there will be some improvement as the club opens up the 2017 season, run defense is one of the many facets of the game that doesn’t magically improve overnight. The club needs time to gel and adapt in real live regular season game action, and Gordon is in a great position to take advantage of the learning curve.
Arizona Cardinals Passing Offense vs. Indianapolis Colts Passing Defense
If you were able to catch any part of last week’s game between the Cardinals and the Lions, you know that the Cardinals offense looked out of sync. Carson Palmer had a rough day while throwing three interceptions, and the day got even worse when David Johnson went down with a wrist injury. Now that Johnson is out of the picture, there are obviously some changes afoot for how the club will be approaching the rest of the season. On the bright side, a matchup with the Colts is up next on the docket.
The Colts looked atrocious against the Rams, and that applied to both sides of the ball. Jared Goff was able to shred them, and Todd Gurley delivered a very productive day on the ground. There’s no magic elixir that will be curing this squad’s ills. The Colts will be a team we want to target against for DFS purposes until further notice, and that includes this week. The veteran Palmer is in a perfect bounce back spot against a leaky secondary, and Cardinals pass catchers could be in line for a fruitful day. Larry Fitzgerald remains the safest one to target, as he saw 13 targets last week. While he may not see quite as many this week, he will see more than enough to do some damage against the Colts.
New England Patriots Passing Offense vs. New Orleans Saints Passing Defense
Those that were expecting the Patriots to hit the ground running in defense of their Super Bowl title walked away sorely disappointed following last Thursday’s game against the Chiefs. The Patriots were out of sync on all fronts, including in the passing game. Tom Brady was uncharacteristically off target, as he completed just 16 of his 36 passes. There were even some whispers that Brady may have hit the proverbial wall that eventually befalls all NFL players. Add all of those nuggets together, and we have a recipe for what’s known as ‘angry’ Tom Brady.
He’ll be taking his frustrations out against a Saints defense that just made Sam Bradford look like an MVP candidate. The Saints incredibly leaky secondary is ripe for the picking, and Rob Gronkowski should be able to have his way with whoever is tasked with attempting to slow him down. Brandin Cooks is also returning to his old stomping grounds, so narrative street leads us to the potential for him to deliver a big game. Danny Amendola appears to be on shaky ground for playing this week, so that should open up some more opportunities for Chris Hogan. Despite his expensive price, Brady is an excellent play in Week 2, and his top options make a ton of sense for stacking purposes.
Oakland Raiders Passing Offense vs. New York Jets Passing Defense
As we mentioned up above, the Jets are in for a long day against the Raiders. Lynch will not be the only source of fantasy goodness, as this is not the Jets secondary of old that we’re talking about. The club is below average in terms of passing yards allowed, and the secondary is chock full of youngsters that can be exploited. The only note of concern is that the Raiders are such big favorites. There’s a very real possibility that the club runs up the score in the first half before calling the dogs off.
However, Derek Carr and company can still do plenty of damage before that happens. Carr looked incredibly sharp last week against the Titans, as he threw for 262 yards and a pair of scores. He leaned heavily on Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, and we can expect that to continue throughout the regular season. One troubling sign of note from last week: Cooper was targeted with three consecutive catchable passes in the end zone, but he was unable to haul them in. He did have a score in the game, but his day could’ve been even bigger. Jared Cook hauled in all five of his targets against the Titans, and he’s worthy of consideration at tight end.
Matchups to Avoid
Dallas Cowboys Passing Offense vs. Denver Broncos Passing Defense
Dak Prescott is one of the most impressive young quarterbacks in the league, but he’s not at the level of a plug and play selection for fantasy purposes. That’s especially true this week, as the Cowboys face off against the stout defense of the Broncos. Elite cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr will be able to hold Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams in check, and there won’t be much room for Cole Beasley and Jason Witten to get open over the middle. There’s plenty of things to like about the Cowboys offense overall, but we’ll be taking a hard pass when they face off against this elite unit.
Indianapolis Colts Passing Offense vs. Arizona Cardinals Passing Defense
It’s unclear if Scott Tolzien or newly-acquired Jacoby Brissett will be behind center when the Colts face off against the Cardinals, but it frankly doesn’t matter. When the choices are a player that seems overwhelmed with the opportunity at hand, and a player that’s unfamiliar with the system, the prospects of a productive day reside somewhere between slim and none. The Cardinals have a tough pass defense that’s led by Patrick Peterson, and the pass rush is nothing to sneeze at in the right matchup. This qualifies as one of those matchups, as the Colts are having problems along the offensive line as well. Signs point to another rough day for the Colts, and we’ll be spending our salary cap dollars elsewhere.
Tennessee Titans Passing Offense vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Defense
Don’t look now, but the Jaguars defense may have arrived. The unit had a coming out party last week in Houston against the Texans, and it looks like there’s a lot to get excited about. Granted, there’s a big step up in the quality of the signal caller they’ll be facing this week in the form of Marcus Mariota, but the Jaguars look to have the pieces in place to keep the Titans under control. Cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye are on the elite end of the spectrum, while Calais Campbell showed the amount of damage he’s capable of inflicting while notching five sacks last week. The Jaguars likely won’t dominate like they did last week, but rostering Mariota and his receivers is too risky of a prospect for Week 2.
Philadelphia Eagles Rushing Offense vs. Kansas City Chiefs Rushing Defense
All through the preseason, the Chiefs prioritized improving against the run. The fruits of their labor were on full display last week against the Patriots. While Mike Gillislee was able to capitalize in goal-line situations, the Chiefs held the vaunted Patriots running game in check. They may do the same against the Eagles, which is a team with a bunch of question marks in the backfield. While LeGarrette Blount showed some flashes in his debut performance for his new club, the running back rotation as a whole seemed disjointed against Washington. There’s not a lot to get excited about with Eagles backs until the rotation becomes more clear, and that’s especially true this week against a tough Chiefs squad.
San Francisco 49ers Rushing Offense vs. Seattle Seahawks Rushing Defense
The 49ers hit the road this week for a divisional battle against the Seahawks, who come into the game off of a tough road loss against the Packers. A trip to Seattle is never an appealing prospect, and it becomes less of an attractive date when the club is ticked off. Carlos Hyde did some nice things last week against the Panthers, but he won’t have the same room to operate against a fierce Seahawks front seven. Add in the fact that the Seahawks are huge favorites in this one, and the game script calls for the 49ers to be playing catch-up for the majority of the afternoon. There will be plenty of intriguing spots to use Carlos Hyde in 2017 now that Kyle Shanahan is in town. This is not one of those spots.
Enjoy the games this weekend, and best of luck with your lineups. Feel free to hit me up anytime via email - firstname.lastname@example.org - with questions or comments.