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Friday Walkthrough

Walkthrough Week 2: Mark Andrews in a Shootout

by Pat Kerrane
Updated On: September 16, 2022, 2:41 pm ET

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Welcome to the Week 2 Walkthrough, outlining critical fantasy football context for this second, glorious week of football. You can find the Week 1 Walkthrough here, where I covered my season-long expectations for each team in detail

At the end of this article, I've included an extensive list of the stats used, what they are, why they're useful, and where they came from. As a heads up, I use some terms interchangeably below: 

  • Routes per dropback = route rate = route % = route participation
  • Targets per route run = target rate

 

Byes: None

Already Played: Chargers, Chiefs

Dolphins at Ravens, 1 PM Eastern, Sunday

Dolphins Implied Team Total: 20.5

As I noted last week, it made sense to expect Mike McDaniel to run his offense like Kyle Shanahan. That would have led to an efficient passing offense but one built within genuinely run-heavy game plans. That was not the case in Week 1. Instead, the Dolphins ran an offense that resembled what the Chiefs did in Week 1. 

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It remains to be seen if Week 1 will be a representative game for Miami. One reason that might not be the case: we may eventually view the Patriots as a clear pass funnel. However, even if the Dolphins' Week 1 passing volume was purely matchup driven, they may also prefer to play this matchup through the air. 

I live in Brooklyn and can tell you that Jets fans are in genuine disbelief that Joe Flacco threw the ball 59 times against the Ravens. Flacco led all quarterbacks in passing attempts in Week 1, and only Joe Burrow (65) had more dropbacks than Flacco's 62. Now, this was a game that the Jets lost 24 to 3, but the Jets didn't go down big until halfway through the third quarter. They passed throughout, finishing with a 5% pass rate over expected.

The Ravens lost starting cornerback Kyle Fuller to an ACL tear in Week 1, and Marcus Peters looks uncertain for Week 2, leaving Baltimore dangerously thin. Given their injuries and that the Ravens were the pass funnel to end 2021, the Jets' willingness to lean into a pass-heavy script has me wondering if the Ravens are still a meaningful pass funnel. 

I remain skeptical that the Dolphins will be a pass-first team in 2022, but I'm more inclined to buy into high passing volume here, where the matchup could potentially influence their play calling.

While the Dolphins surprised me overall, I feel pretty good about my prediction that Tua Tagovailoa could emerge as a more accurate version of Jimmy Garoppolo:

"Tagovailoa ranked 21st in EPA per play in 2021, well behind Garoppolo (8th), but he was impressively accurate, ranking 10th in CPOE, well ahead of Garoppolo (18th). There's a lot more to executing an offense than putting the ball on target. Still, Tagovailoa has upside to operate as a more accurate version of Garoppolo."

He delivered on that promise in Week 1, finishing 11th in EPA per play and fifth in CPOE. And Tagovailoa pushed the ball downfield slightly more than Garoppolo last season, finishing with an 8.3 average depth of target (aDOT). But fundamentally, Tagovailoa looks likely to be a Garoppolo-like facilitator in this offense. He won't have much fantasy value on his own, but he can help support highly efficient weapons. 

Miami's top weapons were incredible in Week 1, with Tyreek Hill delivering 3.03 yards per route run and Waddle not far behind with an elite 2.46. But Hill's performance was far more sustainable. With 12 targets for a 39% target share, Hill delivered on high volume. Waddle saw just five targets and got there with big play ability. Waddle has the potential to be a big play machine... but it would still be nice if Hill didn't double him up in targets. One silver lining for Waddle: his aDOT was 9.4, essentially tied with Hill (9.5). Waddle was used as an underneath option in 2021; if he's more of an intermediate target this season, he'll have more upside.

Outside of the top two receivers, Dolphins pass catchers belong on waivers. Mike Gesicki ran a route on just 43% of dropbacks, with Durham Smythe at 34%. With Alec Ingold playing 35% of snaps, there simply are not enough routes to go around between a fullback and two tight ends. 

Things were also split at running back, with Chase Edmonds playing 63% of snaps to Raheem Mostert's 42%. But fortunately, this is a two-man backfield for now; Edmonds and Mostert were the only running backs to see the field. With a 13% to 3% lead in target share, Edmonds looks like a solid RB2 play, while Mostert is only in the mix for 0RB sickos.

Ravens Implied Team Total: 24

The Ravens were playing left-handed on offense in 2021. They ran a more balanced offense than they likely would have preferred without both of their starting running backs. The situation wasn't much different last week, and the Ravens actually finished Week 1 with a higher pass rate over expected (8%) than they had last season (-1%).

The Patriots ran a typically run-first offense against the Dolphins— so if the Ravens take to the air again this week, it will be because of their own philosophy rather than a matchup-based attack. J.K. Dobbins is set to return this week, but the Ravens are unlikely to lean on him in his first game back from an ACL tear. Baltimore may try and keep things balanced, but if Miami takes to the air on the other side, we could see some fireworks. 

More volume would be great news for Lamar Jackson, who finished 10th in EPA per play and seventh in PFF's grades against the Jets. He remains an elite option despite still gaining chemistry with his wide receivers.

Interestingly, none of Jackson's wide receivers played full-time roles in Week 1. Rashod Bateman led the group with a route on 74% of dropbacks, but that was well below the 90%+ rate we'd expect for a true No. 1 option. Bateman played well, with a 20% target rate and 2.36 yards per route run, but he's a FLEX type until he shows he can be a near-every-route player.  

Devin Duvernay scored two TDs in Week 1, but with just a 53% route rate. He looks like a desperation dart throw moving forward—unless his performance against the Jets earns him more routes. 

The real No. 1 option here, though, is Mark Andrews. Andrews ran a route on 94% of dropbacks—showing that concerns about Isaiah Likely were completely overblown. Actually, that doesn't go far enough. Likely isn't just not bad for Andrews... the fact that a second tight end had a 53% route rate was great for Andrews. 

Hayden Winks showed last year that 2WR sets led to higher YPRR for the wide receivers on the field. Hayden argues that 2WR sets create less competition for targets and force defenses to respect the run. This is even more true for Andrews, who can greatly benefit from linebackers and safeties misreading a play since that player might be his primary coverage defender. And if a tight end generally provides less target competition than a wide receiver, Likely, a Day 3 rookie is likely to provide lesser still. Andrews only went 5-for-52 against the Jets, but he's in a great spot for a spike week here. 

Among the 31 RBs with 10+ carries in Week 1, Kenyan Drake finished 27th in NFL Next Gen's rush yards over expected / attempt. With a 4% target share against the Jets, Drake's main paths to relevance are big plays and TDs. With Dobbins back in the mix, he looks like a bad bet for both. I'd prefer a wait-and-see approach with Dobbins, but I definitely like him over Drake.

Jets at Browns, 1 PM Eastern, Sunday

Jets Implied Team Total: 16.5

The Jets were surprisingly pass-heavy in Week 1, posting a 5% pass rate over expected. They were below this mark in 65% of their games last season. But the Jets trailed for all of Week 1 and simply leaned into a game script that already called for a lot of passing; they weren't dictating a pass-heavy game environment. And they may have felt comfortable with a more pass-focused approach because of the matchup with the Ravens, who were a massive pass funnel to close 2021.

This week the Jets get a Browns defense that was beatable on the back end against the Panthers but has a formidable pass rush. So the Jets could pick their spots this week, aiming for big plays downfield but on more limited passing volume.

If going more conservative is the plan, New York should be able to execute it without issue. The Browns rolled out an ultra run-heavy approach against the Panthers, which fits our expectations for the Brissett offense. The Jets may open things up again, but it's more likely they'll accept the Browns' invitation to grind out a close game.

Joe Flacco wasn't good against the Ravens, but he wasn't abysmal either. The bigger issue for the Jets receivers was that only Elijah Moore had a full-time role. Moore ran a route on 89% of dropbacks, which is enough to give him elite upside—provided he can deliver high-end efficiency. However, Moore struggled to draw targets with a 13% target rate on a shallow, 8.1 aDOT. It gets worse from there.

Corey Davis had a 6-77 line, but on just a 68% route rate, making him a part-time receiver. The issue for Davis is that this situation will get worse, not better. Garrett Wilson ran a route on 56% of dropbacks and played pretty well with 1.49 YPRR. His usage will ramp up in the coming weeks. Wilson played 62% of his snaps out-wide, so the more he plays the less likely Davis is to maintain his outside role. 

Meanwhile, Braxton Berrios is seeing enough playing time to hurt the other Jets receivers but not enough to be fantasy viable. It's possible that Moore and Wilson kick into the slot at a higher rate this week, removing Berrios from the mix. But for now, only Moore looks startable, and he's not a particularly exciting play.  

As expected, Michael Carter and Breece Hall split the Jets backfield. But there were a couple of interesting notes on the split. First, Carter and Hall were the only running backs to see snaps. Second, Hall matched Carter in routes (26) and targets (8). Flacco could check down frequently again this week, and it's encouraging to know that Hall has access to those high-value touches, not just Carter. Both are solid RB2 plays.

Browns Implied Team Total: 23

As I mentioned above, the Browns were very run-heavy in Week 1. Only the Giants, Bears, and 49ers had a lower PROE. And the Browns also ranked 26th in PROE on 1st-and-10.

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The Ravens were pass-heavy against the Jets in Week 1, but that was probably because of their personnel issues rather than the Jets' defense, which was not a pass funnel in 2021. If this matchup isn't going to push the Browns to the air, we should expect them to try and limit passing volume.

There's a reason why the Browns are looking to hide their quarterback. Jacoby Brissett ranked 21st in completion percentage over expected in Week 1. His accuracy could create problems for the Browns' offense. As a result, they're likely to limit his chances again this week.

When the Browns do pass, we can count on Donovan Peoples-Jones and Amari Cooper being out there. They had 92% and 89% route participation, respectively, with Anthony Schwartz down at just 32%. David Njoku's long-foretold full-time role is still a myth. He ran a route on just 68% of dropbacks. Njoku actually had a strong 89% snap share, but he was left in to block a fair amount, keeping him to a part-time receiving role.

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(David Bell ran eight routes but was not targeted)

Peoples-Jones led the way in target volume, but Cooper's opportunity is a bit understated by the official stats because he drew a defensive pass interference penalty on a deep end zone target (second play below).

Donovan Peoples-Jones is in the dart throw mix, but Cooper still looks like the No. 1 receiver here.

Nick Chubb is clearly one of the best running backs in the NFL. The problem is that Kareem Hunt is also great. Chubb finished RB4 in NFL Next Gen's rush yards over expected / attempt in 2021. In Week 1, he continued his excellent play, finishing RB4. Hunt wasn't far behind, however, finishing RB7. Hunt also has the edge in the receiving game, seeing a 58% route rate to Chubb's 26% and a 13% target share to Chubb's 3%. With the Browns as 6.5-point favorites, Chubb is set up well. But even elite rushing efficiency isn't going to be enough to produce an elite week; he'll also need to run hot on TDs.

Commanders at Lions, 1 PM Eastern, Sunday

Commanders Implied Team Total: 23.5

The Commanders took an interesting approach to Week 1. While occasionally pass-happy in 2021, they were a decidedly run-heavy team down the stretch. They played things differently against the Jaguars. The Commanders' 11% pass rate over expected was tied for the second highest of the week, and they tied the Packers for the highest PROE on 1st-and-10. While the Commanders occasionally spiked last season on 1st down pass rate, they never hit a 10%+ PROE in any week last season.

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It's important to note that the Jaguars were a pass funnel last year, so the way Washington played in Week 1 could have a lot to do with their matchup. But the Lions were susceptible to both the run and the pass last season, and the Eagles just beat them with a pass-first attack. So while the Commanders will likely be more balanced than last week, I don't expect them to turn back into late-2021 Washington.

Wentz rewarded the Commanders' faith in him in Week 1, finishing eighth in EPA per play. Wentz was still Wentz, though. He ranked just 15th in CPOE, showing the same accuracy red flags we're used to. But as usual, he was good when throwing deep, finishing with PFF's fourth-highest grade on deep passes. This week, Wentz is a good bet for a few big plays against a defense that ranks 27th in EPA allowed per dropback and was susceptible to the big play in 2021. 

At wide receiver, Terry McLaurin had just three targets while Jahan Dotson had five, and Curtis Samuel hauled in 10. But McLaurin remains the best bet going forward. With an 18.3 aDOT, he's going to be inconsistent. But Wentz has a decent deep ball and is willing to throw it. When they do connect, it should be for some big gains.

Dotson's Week 1 role was very encouraging, but his strong debut was primarily driven by getting in the end zone twice. With an 89% route rate, he already profiles as a FLEX option. But with a 16.2 aDOT, he will also have some duds as a rookie deep threat.

Curtis Samuel's 10 targets were very encouraging, despite a 1.3 aDOT. He looks like a FLEX option as a play that he continues getting designed touches. 

But the real story in the receiving game was Antonio Gibson, who was targeted eight times and even saw work downfield with an aDOT of 3.1.

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Gibson ran a route on 51% of dropbacks to J.D. McKissic's 38%, so he should have receiving value going forward. However, his eight targets could easily be a high-water mark this season. Even still, he led the team in YPRR and could continue to make plays in the receiving game... which has been the hope since he entered the league. Gibson profiles as a solid RB2 play.

 

Lions Implied Team Total: 25

As I covered in my Week 1 preview, the post-Anthony Lynn Lions had an evident philosophical bent. They were very run-heavy overall but willing to pass on 1st-and-10. 

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This approach makes logical sense if the goal is to get the most out of Jared Goff while also attempting to hide him and prevent mistakes. The Lions' balanced approach on 1st-and-10 set up Goff for success by giving him passing opportunities against a defense that had to respect the run. But the run-heavy overall approach keeps the ball out of Goff's hands as much as possible otherwise.

The Lions maintained this approach against the Eagles, finishing with a -8% PROE (28th) but a 2% PROE on 1st-and-10 (19th). The Lions will establish the run, but they'll be savvy about it. 

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The Lions also finished with the fastest situation-neutral seconds per play of Week 1. They ran a lot, but they also played fast. Put together, the Lions look like a team that is unwilling to run their offense through Jared Goff but is still doing its damnedest to score points.

This is all good news for Jared Goff, who has been decent when properly hidden but can also get exposed in a big way. He ranked 16th in EPA per play last season, which is a credit to the Lions coaches and supporting cast. Goff played quite poorly with a -12% CPOE (30th) and was graded as PFF's 28th-ranked quarterback. He'll have some chances to pass in good situations, but overall the Lions will be doing their best to protect him. 

Fortunately, for fantasy purposes, Goff really enjoys an underneath safety blanket wide receiver. Amon-Ra St. Brown was a fantasy force late last season in that role. He was again in Week 1, putting up 8-64-1 on 12 targets. His 32% target share led the team, and he also led the team in weighted opportunity rating (WOPR) and yards per route run. 

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Hockenson, who ran a route on a good-not-great 77% of dropbacks, looks like the most interesting secondary option, purely because he comes with tight end eligibility. With a 5.9 aDOT, however, he will be competing directly with St. Brown (5.0) for targets, making him a low upside play. Chark, who matched Brown with a 92% route rate, may well be the No. 2 option in the passing game.

In the backfield, D'Andre Swift had a strong Week 1. He performed well on his three targets with 1.24 YPRR, but that's par for the course with Swift. The better news was that he finished second on the week in RYOE / attempt. It's just one week, but Swift was quite poor in this metric in 2021, and running between the tackles appeared to be a clear point of emphasis for him entering the season. If he continues to do that well, he could build on his already strong 67% snap share.

However, as Ben Gretch notes in stealing signals, Jamaal Williams saw 5-of-6 touches inside the 10-yard line. I tend to agree with Ben's assessment: "Swift has also dominated the goal-line work at times, so I'm hopeful this will at worst shift back to something closer to 50/50 in close rather than Williams just being the preferred option in close."

Swift will have trouble being a truly elite RB1 until/unless he gets consistent goal line work. Of course, because of his big play and receiving ability, he doesn't need all of the goal line touches; but he needs more than a nibble.

 

Colts at Jaguars, 1 PM Eastern, Sunday

Colts Implied Team Total: 24.25

While teams like the Lions are willing to pass in neutral situations as part of an overall run-heavy game plan... some teams just want to establish it in all situations. That's how the Colts played in Week 1, finishing 27th in PROE and 27th in PROE on 1st-and-10.

But this could have been matchup related. The Texans were a major run funnel in 2021, so we can't be shocked that the Colts tried to overpower their Week 1 opponent on the ground. This week, the Colts face a Jaguars defense that was a pass funnel in 2021 and that the Commanders just went very pass-heavy against in Week 1. If the Colts don't play at least balanced here, we can bet on them to be a true run-heavy team going forward. But I expect them to play the matchup, at least to a degree.

Although, Matt Ryan's play in Week 1 was a genuine red flag. He finished 21st in EPA per play and just 24th in CPOE, showing concerning inaccuracy.

Additionally, it's interesting to see how the Falcons shifted their attack without him this week. The Falcons were slightly more run-heavy than their 2021 average, but they were far more aggressive on 1st down. They finished with a 5% PROE on 1st-and-10 after trying to hide Ryan in 2021. 

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So while the Colts should be more balanced this week, it's hard to see them embracing the pass unless Ryan plays considerably better.

It's also harder to see the Colts passing a ton with Michael Pittman's quad injury. Like he was in 2021, Pittman was an every-route player against the Texans, and he finished WR14 in WOPR, with a 28% target share and 35% air yard share. He was the Colts' clear-cut No. 1 option.

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Pittman is unlikely to be an elite option unless the Colts open up the passing game, but he can easily be a top 20 wide receiver as the target dominator on a low-volume offense. However, his profile is fairly dependent on him being out there for an every-route role, so his Friday practice status will be important to monitor. 

Behind Pittman, it looks a little bleak. Parris Campbell was used very shallowly with a 4.8 aDOT, and it's unclear how long he will hold off Alec Pierce in 2WR sets. Of course, Pierce is currently in the concussion protocol and is coming off a two-target, zero-reception debut. For this week, at least, Campbell looks like a decent volume-based dart throw.

At tight end, Mo Alie-Cox can be dropped in all formats after running a route on just 37% of dropbacks. 

We know that Jonathan Taylor is an elite running back, but he might just be getting started. In 17 games last season, Taylor had a 60%+ route rate just four times. He had a 63% route rate in Week 1, with Hines at 41%. Taylor's 13% target share wasn't anything crazy, but if he's going to be running routes at a higher rate this season, nothing is standing in the way of a legendary season.

Jaguars Implied Team Total: 20.75

The Jaguars were an uninspired run-first offense in 2021. In Week 1, they were a somewhat balanced but pass-first offense. They now get a Colts defense that the Texans were unexpectedly pass-first against, which could potentially be a pass funnel. At the very least, the Jaguars look likely to play this game balanced and could be decidedly pass-first.

Trevor Lawrence showed some real promise in Week 1, which should give the Jaguars the confidence to keep passing this week. After a disastrous rookie season in which he ranked 34th in completion percentage over expected, Lawrence ranked 11th against the Commanders. He also jumped from 32nd to 15th in EPA per play.

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Moreover, Lawrence was efficient and accurate in an offense that wasn't hiding him. The Jaguars weren't taking a Chiefs-style approach to the passing split, but still, the offense was primarily on Lawrence's shoulders, and he showed well.

Christian Kirk also had a great first game in Pederson's offense. After breaking out as a slot receiver in 2021, the Jaguars didn't get cute; Kirk played 85% of his snaps in the slot. But Kirk also had an elite 91% route rate, tying Zay Jones for a team-high 41 routes. Kirk was far more effective than Jones, with 2.85 YPRR to Jones' 1.59. But both saw decent volume. 

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With Marvin Jones also running a full slate of routes, it's hard to trust that Zay Jones' target volume will be sticky. Meanwhile, Kirk looks like a solid starting option after delivering on his No. 1 receiver billing. 

At tight end, Evan Engram didn't produce, but he ran a route on 78% of dropbacks which sets him up as a volume-based bet that the Colts' defense is a pass funnel. 

Travis Etienne had a Week 1 to forget. He dropped an easy TD, and Trevor Lawrence missed him for another would-be TD. Etienne also barely edged out James Robinson in playing time, playing just two more snaps. Robinson looked shockingly good for a player who tore his Achilles in December and should be expected to split the backfield evenly with Etienne once again. Etienne's 11% target share makes him a solid RB2, as does the fact that he was actually targeted downfield, with a 9.3 aDOT. 

 

Buccaneers at Saints, 1 PM Eastern, Sunday

Buccaneers Implied Team Total: 23.5

The Buccaneers weren't quite the Buccaneers in Week 1. But we knew that was a possible—a result of offensive line concerns. Those concerns showed up in a big way against the Cowboys, with the Buccaneers ranking 30th in pass blocking grade. Tom Brady didn't come out of retirement at 45 to take hits behind a bad offensive line.

The Buccaneers lost C Ryan Jensen and LG Aaron Stinnie to season-ending injuries in the summer. LT Donovan Smith left with an elbow injury against the Cowboys, creating significant issues upfront. Fill-ins Robert Hainsey, Luke Goedeke, and Josh Wells were all better in run blocking than pass protection. As the line continues to gel, it would make sense for the Buccaneers to lean on the run, where they had an impressive No. 2 ranking in run block grade. 

The Saints also look more vulnerable than expected against the run. They rank 21st in EPA allowed per rush, 21st in rushing success rate, and 21st in run defense grade. They were top-2 in all three metrics in 2021. The Saints won't necessarily be bad against the run. Still, given Brady's historical struggles against them and an offensive line struggling to protect him, the odds favor a balanced to run-first attack this week.

That's not to say that Brady won't be efficient on the passes he does throw. Even in a down game, Brady finished 17th in EPA per play and 10th in CPOE.

Chris Godwin looked great in his return from his ACL surgery, turning 10 routes into 3-for-35. But he, unfortunately, pulled his hamstring, which will keep him out this week. The Buccaneers also had Russell Gage (hamstring) and Julio Jones (knee) miss practice this week, putting their statuses up in the air. In addition, Mike Evans is dealing with a minor calf injury, and Breshad Perriman has a minor knee injury. From a health perspective, the wide receivers have had a tough start to the season.

As the Buccaneers healthiest starting wide receiver (assuming his calf injury isn't a real concern), Mike Evans looks set for a lot of volume... if he can get one over on his rival CB Marshon Lattimore. But if you're planning to start Evans, you should be rooting for Julio Jones to play as well. Jones had a 19.8 aDOT in Week 1. But unlike alternate field stretchers Breshad Perriman and Scotty Miller, Jones is actually dangerous. He had 3.14 YPRR against Dallas; defenses need to keep an eye on him. Jones' presence should allow Evans to soak up intermediate volume, some of which would typically go to Godwin. If Jones projects to be limited, Evans could have more of a boom/bust field stretcher role.

If healthy, Jones looks startable as a big play bet. Russell Gage looks like a weaker play. He had an aDOT of just 3.0, so his fantasy value is probably volume-dependent. Volume and hamstring injuries don't go together well.

Speaking of... Leonard Fournette tweaked his hamstring on his final run of Week 1 and has been limited in practice. The injury isn't costing him any games right now, but we could see the Buccaneers manage Fournette's load a bit more this week. Fournette logged 76% of snaps in the opener and would probably have cruised to 80%+ had he not pulled up. So he has volume to spare. 

Fournette's passing role also remains locked in. He only drew two targets in Dallas, but he ran a route on 76% of dropbacks, second to only Darrell Henderson. Fournette has been targeted on 22% of his routes since coming to Tampa Bay. So on 22 routes, he would project for roughly five targets, three more than the two he actually saw. Therefore, if Fournette gets targeted at his usual rate this week and keeps goal line duties, he can deliver slightly more fantasy value even while playing slightly less.

Rachaad White is lurking, though. Ke'Shawn Vaughn was a healthy scratch in Week 1, and Gio Bernard didn't see a snap. Instead, the Buccaneers trusted White as Fournette's clear backup. White was targeted on 29% of his routes and saw six rushing attempts to Fournette's 21. He doesn't have startable standalone value right now, but Week 1 solidified him as an ultra-premium handcuff.

Saints Implied Team Total: 21

As I noted before Week 1, the Saints worked hard to hide Jameis Winston in 2021, making his impressive passing efficiency harder to get excited about. But the Saints did not shy away from Winston in Atlanta. The Saints posted a 1% PROE, up significantly from last season's -6%. They adjusted even more dramatically on 1st down, shifting from a -4% PROE to 5%. 

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This is a good sign for Winston's upside this season, especially because the Falcons were a run funnel last year. This might be a representative game plan from the Saints.

And Winston continued to play well, finishing 14th in EPA per play. Even better, his accuracy was up from last season's ranking of 31st to seventh. The truth likely lies somewhere in the middle. In Winston's 2019 season, he ranked 17th in CPOE. Last year's inaccuracy was probably due in part to a very poor receiving corps, but he's also likely to regress a bit from his impressive Week 1.

Michael Thomas' return had to be good for Winston, and the two connected for two TDs, with Thomas going 5-57-2 in his long-awaited return from injury. But Winston was actually just as dialed in to Jarvis Landry, who tied Thomas with a 26% target share and led the team in targets per route run.

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Still, Landry showed a strong connection with Winston, producing a 14.3 YPT on a surprisingly deep aDOT of 15.0. Leave it to Jameis Winston to turn Jarvis Landry into a deep threat.

Both Thomas and Landry look like solid season-long plays this week. Chris Olave, however, looks more like a priority bench stash. Olave ran a route on 83% of dropbacks but saw just three targets. He's likely to earn more volume as he gets more comfortable in the offense, but Thomas and Landry could make it difficult for the rookie to see targets this week.

Juwan Johnson became my waiver wire flavor of the week when I realized he ran a route on 80% of dropbacks, played 68% of his snaps from the slot, and had an aDOT of 12.4 in Week 1. Johnson had a pretty meh target rate of 16% last week and a poor career rate of 13%. But Johnson is a converted wide receiver who unexpectedly finished TE8 in route rate in Week 1.

In addition to routes and targets, aDOT is a key stat for tight ends. Last season only seven tight ends ran 300+ routes with an aDOT of 10+: Kyle Pitts (11.2), Mark Andrews (10.9), Rob Gronkowski (10.9), Hunter Henry (10.7), and Darren Waller (10.3). Johnson ran only 166 routes last season, but he led the position with an 11.5 aDOT. I'm already willing to roll with him as a deep-league replacement for George Kittle, and I think he has a chance to emerge as a Jared Cook-style low-end TE1.

While I've managed to hype myself up about an un-rostered tight end, I'm feeling a bit queasy about Alvin Kamara. Kamara saw a low-value workload in Week 1, with just four targets and zero opportunities inside the 10-yard line.

And Kamara, for some reason, only ran a route on 43% of dropbacks. Weird stuff happens in the NFL, but Kamara never had route participation below 47% in 2021, and he only dropped below 64% three times. For now, you're obviously starting Kamara, but his ceiling depends on a strong receiving workload, which he was far from in Week 1.

Panthers at Giants, 1 PM Eastern, Sunday

Panthers Implied Team Total: 21

The Panthers were a balanced, slightly run-first team in 2021, and they continued that approach against the Browns. And unfortunately, they continued to deal with inaccurate quarterback play.

After finishing 30th in CPOE in 2021—only five spots ahead of Sam DarnoldBaker Mayfield tied for 26th in Week 1. His -6.9% CPOE would have ranked ahead of only Taysom Hill (7.1%) and Zach Wilson (9.6%) last season.

Mayfield was able to finish a respectable 18th in EPA per play, but he needed a 75-yard TD to get there. The overall showing for Mayfield was much more bearish. PFF's grades agree; he's currently QB31 in overall grade.

In fairness to Mayfield, his struggles could be related to pressure. The Browns earned PFF's top pass rush grade in Week 1, with the Panthers coming in at 28th in pass blocking grade. The line should hold up better against a Giants pass rush that ranks 24th in pass rush grade. And Mayfield could hit some big plays against a secondary ranked 30th in coverage grade. It was a disappointing Panthers debut for Mayfield, but he has a chance to recover here.

D.J. Moore will also be looking to bounce back after a disappointing 3-for-43 outing against the Browns. Keep the faith; Moore ran a route on 100% of dropbacks. His target rate was a disappointing 12%, while Robbie Anderson surprised with 21% (100% route rate). But Moore has a long history of earning targets at a high rate and is in his prime. It could easily be Moore on the other side of any big plays from Mayfield this week. 

Still, Anderson's Week 1 was impressive. And that was with Mayfield operating with a very shallow 6.5 aDOT. If Mayfield gets more time to throw and uses it to push the ball downfield, Anderson could be in for another nice game.

One reason for optimism on both Moore and Anderson is that they essentially have no target competition downfield. Shi Smith, Ian Thomas, and Tommy Tremble combined for six targets. No other wide receivers or tight ends were targeted. If the passing game picks up, we know who the targets will go to.

One reason for pessimism, though, is that this could be a low-volume game. The Panthers ranked fifth in situation-neutral pace last week but were slowed down by a slow-paced, run-heavy Browns team. They now get a Giants squad that was even slower and more run-oriented. Both receivers look like boom/bust options, given a good matchup but potentially low overall passing volume.

Christian McCaffrey is a locked-in RB1 whenever he steps on the field, but this potentially low-volume affair isn't an ideal setup. Still, McCaffrey (73%) is one of only five running backs with 70%+ route participation. The other four are Darrell Henderson (78%), Leonard Fournette (76%), Saquon Barkley (75%), and Dalvin Cook (70%). Because he runs routes at the rate of a starting slot receiver, McCaffrey can see his targets spike in any game environment. 

Giants Implied Team Total: 22.5

As I cautioned last week, the Giants were pass-heavy with Daniel Jones under center in 2021. And not only were they willing to pass, but they also passed aggressively on 1st down. 

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I saw this sign that Brian Daboll might not increase pass rates from 2021.

"Even on 1st-and-10, where the Bills led the league with a 15% PROE, we might not see a huge difference. The Giants had a 12% PROE on 1st-and-10 from Weeks 1-12. The Chiefs (8%) and Buccaneers (6%) were the only teams other than the Bills to finish above 5% last season. So... while there are plenty of things that Daboll can do to help Jones... Jason Garrett was actually already doing a lot of those things. Now, will Daboll run a schematically superior offense to Garrett? Almost certainly. But I ask you this, what if... (are you sitting down) Daniel Jones is bad? You can't scheme away bad."

As it turns out... I didn't go far enough. It appears that Daboll may agree that Jones simply isn't very good and, as a result, is unwilling to build his offense around an aggressive passing attack. Instead, the Giants went very run-heavy in Week 1, both overall and on 1st-and-10.

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Only the 49ers and Bears (in a marsh) were more run-heavy than the Giants. And only the Titans (in the stone age) were more run-heavy on 1st down. 

Daboll underlined this point by running a very slow-paced offense. The Giants ranked 31st in situation-neutral pace in Week 1. 

It's pretty easy to understand why the Giants were so cautious with Jones. He ranked 29th in EPA per play with a lost fumble and an interception. But Jones was actually very accurate against the Titans, leading all quarterbacks in CPOE.

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The Panthers probably won't push the Giants any more than the Titans did, allowing them to roll out another conservative game plan. But Jones could deliver some exciting, albeit mistake-prone, football if the Giants are forced into comeback mode.

Good luck figuring out who Jones will throw to, though. Richie James led the way in Week 1 with six targets. No other Giants wide receiver or tight end had more than two. I'll be looking at other options this week.

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As you can see above, Saquon Barkley led the Giants in both routes and targets. Daboll might be throwing in the towel on salvaging Jones, but he clearly believes that Barkley is a star. Barkley (82%), Darrell Henderson (82%), and Christian McCaffrey (81%) are the only running backs to post 80%+ snap shares in Week 1. Per Sam Sherman below, Barkley's rushing and receiving workload combined to set him up for a huge fantasy performance. 

Barkley delivered in a big way with 18-164-1 as a rusher and 6-for-30 as a receiver, leading all running backs with 33.4 PPR points. Even with CMC on the other side, this game could belong to Barkley.

Patriots at Steelers, 1 PM Eastern, Sunday

Patriots Implied Team Total: 21.25

We now know what a Matt Patricia offense looks like. Check that off your bucket list. 

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The Patriots were inefficient in both the run and pass game, while rolling out a run-first game plan. But, credit where credit is due... the Patriots were willing to pass on 1st down, with a 5% PROE ranked 12th on the week. The Patriots' offense definitely doesn't look great, but things aren't as bleak as they could be given the offensive coordinator.

Mac Jones struggled against the Dolphins, finishing 25th in EPA per play, but he was still accurate, which was his calling card as a rookie. Jones finished eighth with a 2.5% CPOE in 2021, and he picked up where he left off with a 2.9% CPOE against the Dolphins.

Unfortunately, Jones is about to face a much more difficult matchup in Week 2. The Dolphins rank 31st in pass rush grade and 24th in coverage grade; the Steelers rank eighth and fourth, and they earned those grades against Joe Burrow. Granted, they will be without star EDGE T.J. Watt, but the Steelers had strong defensive play overall against the Bengals and should still be a tough matchup even with Watt recovering from a torn pectoral.

The Patriots receivers produced weird results in Week 1, with targets funneling to the guys running the fewest routes.

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Meyers looks to have the best mix of routes and target upside. He was targeted deeper downfield than usual, with a 15.5 aDOT, which could signal slightly more upside than we're used to.

But the real upside play here is Rhamondre Stevenson. Stevenson played just 25% of snaps, with Damien Harris leading the backfield with 39% snaps and Ty Montgomery just behind with 36%. With Montgomery now on injured reserve, Stevenson is the logical next man up for passing down duties. Of course, this is the Patriots... so it's possible that Pierre Strong mixes in instead. But Stevenson has consistently flashed when given opportunities and has play-it-before-you-see-it upside this week.

Steelers Implied Team Total: 19.25

I expected the Steelers to embrace the run in Week 1, perhaps only taking to the air when inevitably forced into comeback mode. That... is not how things played out. Despite never trailing to the Bengals, Mitch Trubisky tied with Patrick Mahomes for the 10th most dropbacks in Week 1. Accounting for their positive game script, the Steelers were very aggressive in their approach to the pass. 

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The Steelers were seventh in PROE in Week 1 and tied for fifth in PROE on 1st down. 

That passing volume was beneficial because passing efficiency continued to be a problem. Trubisky turned in a QB24 finish in EPA per play and a QB28 finish in CPOE. He does at least get a Patriots secondary this week that ranks 31st in coverage grade and may well be a pass funnel after the Dolphins went unexpectedly pass-heavy against them in Week 1. Pittsburgh looks like a good bet for solid passing volume, with upside for improved (but still below average) passing efficiency.

Diontae Johnson looks set to continue his target dominance in Pittsburgh. Among wide receivers with 90%+ routes, Johnson finished WR8 in targets per route. The Steelers might have a new quarterback, but Johnson was the same guy he's always been. He ran shallow routes on the outside and got open quickly and frequently. If the Patriots end up being a pass funnel, he could see some additional volume this week.

Behind Johnson, things are going to be frustrating. This is mainly because Pat Freiermuth looks like he's for real. The second-year tight had a 76% route rate and drew nine targets, one less than Johnson. Freiermuth profiles as a TE1, but it won't always be easy to earn targets with Chase Claypool and George Pickens on the field for 90%+ of dropbacks.

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Although Zach Gentry saw two targets on just five routes, so Trubisky may just be dialed in on the tight end position.

Pickens should stay on benches until he shows he can earn targets against strong competition. Claypool is also in a tough spot but saw six rushing attempts, which keeps him in FLEX consideration. Even if Claypool's role was a specific game plan for the Bengals, the Steelers could incorporate similar plays this week with Najee Harris a bit banged up.

After dealing with a Lisfranc injury in training camp, Harris was bent back awkwardly in Week 1 and didn't return to the game. He's been limited in practice and is expected to go, but it would be surprising if he's immediately used as a workhorse. As a result, he profiles as more of an RB2 play this week. Jaylen Warren was the only other Steelers running back to see a snap in Week 1, and looks like a must-roster handcuff.

Fantasy football guru Matthew Berry has joined the team and his two shows have you covered all season long. Spend weekdays at noon with the Fantasy Football Happy Hour and then, every Sunday at 11am getting ready for kickoff with the Fantasy Football Pregame. Watch both shows live on Peacock and catch replays for the weekday show on the NFL on NBC YouTube channel.


Falcons at Rams, 4:05 PM Eastern, Sunday

Falcons Implied Team Total: 18.25

As I mentioned when previewing the Colts/Jaguars above, the Falcons were more willing to pass on 1st down in Week 1 than they were with Matt Ryan under center. The had a 5% PROE on 1st-and-10 last week. In 2021, they hit 5%+ just twice.

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Despite a run-first game plan, this willingness to pass on 1st down is a good sign for Marcus Mariota; it sets him up for success against defenses that have to respect the run.

Although, it's fair to wonder if Arthur Smith will eventually lose confidence in Mariota, regardless of the situation. Against the Saints, Mariota tied with Baker Mayfield for QB26 in CPOE. He was a very respectable 12th in EPA per play, but his efficiency is likely to regress unless he shows better accuracy against the Rams.

Despite being decimated by the Bills, the Rams rank 19th in coverage grades. They are in a potential defensive bounce-back spot against Mariota. And their offense could push the Falcons to the air more than they'd prefer. This week should tell us a lot about how well Mariota can play this season and how much confidence the Falcons have in him.

This week also provides a bounce-back opportunity for Kyle Pitts. With 76% route participation, Pitts didn't quite see elite usage for a tight end, but he wasn't far off. And unlike most tight ends, Pitts actually plays out wide. He saw 26% of his snaps on the outside, 31% in the slot, and 40% inline.

While the snaps out wide are great, the inline snaps are a bit worrisome. He was up considerably from last year's 22% rate, which helps explain why Pitts logged seven pass-blocking snaps. Pitts logged only 15 pass-blocking snaps in 17 games last season. In just one game he nearly hit half of his rookie season total.

This is not ideal. Part of the fun of drafting Pitts was that he profiles as a tight end in name only. Seeing him become an actual tight end is something no fake football enthusiast wants to see.

All is not lost, though. Pitts still drew targets at an elite 25% rate and he operated downfield with a No. 1 wide receiver-style aDOT of 11.9. His 2.7 YPT killed any chances for a big fantasy day, but he still tied for a team-high in targets (7). If the Rams can force the Falcons into comeback mode, Pitts can still be a No. 1 receiver with tight end eligibility, even if he occasionally stays in to block.

Drake London matched Pitts with seven targets and ran two more routes, which was a great way for the rookie to begin his season. With a 23% target rate and 2.47 YPRR, London is flashing signs of a big rookie season. He has room to grow from his 81% route rate, but there are plenty of receivers who he can steal routes from in this offense. If he keeps up this level of play, a full-time role is only a matter of time.

Cordarrelle Patterson was in more than a full-time role in Week 1. He set a career-high 120 rushing yards against the Saints as he handled the full backfield workload with Damien Williams dealing with a ribs injury. That injury kept Williams out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday, which could mean that rookie Tyler Allgeier will make his debut on Sunday. However, given that Allgeier was a healthy scratch against the Saints, Patterson should be viewed as the clear lead back if Williams cannot go this week. Arthur Smith probably doesn't want to burn out Patterson early in the season, but he also doesn't want to go 0-2.

Rams Implied Team Total: 28.25

Matthew Stafford had an extremely rough start to the 2022 season, finishing 31st in EPA per play. Stafford's CPOE of -1% was a less concerning 17th, and not dramatically lower than 2021's 1.2%. Still, the Rams seemed to be looking to hide him a bit. With a -8% PROE on 1st-and-10, the Rams continued a clear downtrend in 1st down PROE that accelerated after their bye week last year and continued into the playoffs.

The issue with the Rams' more run-focused game plan is that they're not very good at running the ball. It's one thing to lean on the run if you're the Colts. Since 2021, Indianapolis has averaged .05 EPA per rush. That efficiency is barely behind their passing game and higher than 14 other passing games. But the Rams running game against the Bills delivered -.084 EPA per play. Their running game was less efficient than the Chicago Bears passing game since 2021.

Fortunately, the Falcons struggled badly to stop the Saints' running game. Atlanta allowed the most EPA per rush in the league in Week 1, as well as the highest rushing success rate. The Rams seem very committed to establishing the run, and fortunately, they should be more effective in doing so this week.

The main ball carrier should once again be Darrell Henderson. Henderson had an 82% snap share in Week 1, tied with Saquon Barkley for RB1. As I covered last week, Sean McVay has shown a clear tendency toward a one-back system, which I thought might affect Week 1's snaps... I just didn't realize which back would benefit.

"In his rookie season, Cam Akers emerged as the Rams' lead running back in Week 13. He had at least 61% of snaps from that point on, including snap shares of 71% and an absurd 96% in the Rams' two playoff games. After Akers ruptured his Achilles in 2021, the Rams turned things over to Darrell Henderson. Henderson opened the season with a 94% snap share, hit 80%+ five times, and never dropped below 60% from Weeks 1-12. After Henderson suffered a quad injury, Sony Michel played 97% of snaps in Week 13; he hit 100% the following week and again in Week 17 and never finished below 73% for the rest of the regular season.

It certainly seems like the Rams would prefer to have a clear do-everything back. The issue is that Akers' early-season health may not allow for that. In the Super Bowl, Akers logged 57% of snaps, with Henderson mixing in for 32%. Akers saw nearly three times as many snaps on first and second downs but half as many third and fourth down snaps, making Akers the clear early-down running back and Henderson the passing down RB2. With evenly split first-team reps in training camp, and McVay telling reporters that he sees the team as having two starting running backs, the same split looks likely in Week 1. However, given the way the Rams operated before Akers' early Achilles return, there's a chance that McVay commits to Akers as a clear No. 1 running back right away, if his health allows."

We now know that health has not allowed. We may see a changing of the guard at some point, but for now, Henderson looks likely to operate as a clear workhorse. In a good matchup, he profiles as a borderline RB1.

Cooper Kupp isn't borderline anything. He's a 100%, lock-it-in superstar. With the Rams' offense crashing down around him, Kupp still turned in an elite 2.56 YPRR. He drew targets at an elite 30% rate with a strong 8.5 YPT—all while running a route on 100% of dropbacks. He'll get his opportunities regardless of script.

Things are far more precarious for Allen Robinson. Robinson was widely assumed to rebound from his down 2021 season, but he posted a gag-inducing 0.25 YPRR against the Bills. To be fair, that wasn't much worse than Tyler Higbee (0.85). But Higbee drew targets at an impressive 20% rate, while Robinson was at just 4%. As usual, Higbee regularly dropped the ball... but at least he had targets to drop. Both players look like TD-or-bust options this week, with the Rams likely to lean on Kupp and Henderson.

Seahawks at 49ers, 4:05 PM Eastern, Sunday

Seahawks Implied Team Total: 16.25

In an incredible troll by Pete Carroll, the Seahawks let Geno cook. Seattle's 11% PROE is their second most aggressive passing performance since Week 1 of 2021.

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Credit to Geno Smith, he was up to the job. Smith finished QB7 in EPA per play and QB2 in CPOE. But basic human reason suggests that his efficiency will fall off.

If that's not enough for you, consider that Smith's aDOT was just 5.0, the lowest in Week 1. He's executing a quick-hitting, run/pass option (RPO) offense well, but that might not work for very long if that's all he can ultimately do.

But within the context of a limited offense, it's worth considering if Smith's accuracy is for real. Since 2021, Smith leads the NFL in completion percentage over expected. This is on a small sample of 158 plays. But he's getting to the point where we have to wonder if he can basically be what Tua Tagovailoa was last year. Tagovailoa finished 10th in CPOE and 21st in EPA per game. That's not exciting by any stretch. But that level of competence would be a boost for DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, relative to our preseason expectations for the offense. Still, against the 49ers, the Seahawks should dial back their passing attempts, and are likely to be less efficient when they do drop back.

Even if you think I've lost my mind on Geno Smith, you have to give him credit for getting the ball to his best receiver. Smith targeted DK Metcalf on 24% of his routes, earning Metcalf a 27% target share. Now... for this to happen, Metcalf had an aDOT of just 4.1. And now you see the problem with a 2021 Tua-type captaining this offense. Metcalf's ideal role is not to be Jaylen Waddle west.

But at least Metcalf got targets. Lockett saw just a 12% target share despite a healthy 87% route rate. His 1.04 YPRR was also very poor. Lockett is good enough to remain in the FLEX mix but he's not going to be an enjoyable weekly start this year.

At tight end, Noah Fant ran a route on only 58% of dropbacks. He's borderline droppable at that level of route participation. Personally, I think Fant's talent is strong enough that he needs to be rostered. But I would be keeping him out of starting lineups this week, even in deep leagues.

Rashaad Penny got the early down rushing work to himself in Week 1 but that won't be the case against the 49ers. Ken Walker is set to make his debut, potentially crushing the fantasy value of both backs. Walker is a very talented rusher, but so is Penny. The best hope here is that Smith's love of the quick pass will get both backs involved on early downs. Penny ran 19 routes on Monday, which was eight more than Travis Homer. And Penny saw three targets while Homer wasn't targeted at all. Maybe Penny and Walker can each get a few targets this week in addition to a split rushing workload. But they're more likely to cannibalize each other.

49ers Implied Team Total: 24.75

Literal monsoon conditions in Chicago make it hard to evaluate the 49ers game plan or Trey Lance's Week 1 play, but it seems likely that the game delivered a more extreme version of what we can expect this week.

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The 49ers are unlikely to finish last in the league in PROE in Week 2, but they will almost certainly remain run-heavy. Likewise, Trey Lance should improve somewhat from his QB28 finish in EPA per play and QB32 finish in CPOE. But he's still not likely to be particularly good.

Still, the Seahawks' defense was sneaky bad against the Broncos in Week 1. If not for a couple goal line fumbles, they would have been beaten easily. Against a defense that graded 18th in pass rush and 27th in coverage, Lance—even assuming he's a lower-end NFL starter—should be able to flash here.

Brandon Aiyuk is also looking to bounce back after he went 2-for-40 on two targets. He could be aided in that effort by Elijah Mitchell's absence. With Tyrion-Davis Price a healthy scratch, Jordan Mason logged zero snaps even after Mitchell was injured. Instead, Deebo Samuel rushed eight times—just one less than Jeff Wilson. Davis-Price will be active this week, but there's a chance that Samuel continues to play the No. 2 running back role. That would leave Aiyuk as the No. 1 receiver, potentially helping both players. George Kittle looks doubtful for Week 2, which will keep targets condensed. Regardless of how he is deployed, Samuel looks like the safest bet here. He had an abysmal 2.0 YPT in Week 1 but led the team with a 27% target share, even as he worked as the team's RB2.

Bengals at Cowboys, 4:25 Eastern, Sunday

Bengals Implied Team Total: 24.25

Joe Burrow had a rough outing in Week 1, turning the ball over five times and taking seven sacks. But even with Burrow struggling, the Bengals resisted the temptation to go run-heavy. They finished with a perfectly balanced 0% PROE.

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Now facing a defense that ranks 11th in pass rush grade and seventh in coverage grade, the Bengals are unlikely to lean into the pass in a huge way. This is partly because the Cowboys rank just 24th in run defense grade and partly because Cooper Rush is unlikely to push the Bengals off script. Still, with Tee Higgins in the concussion protocol, a balanced game plan should deliver more than enough opportunities for Ja'Marr Chase.

Chase was spectacular in Week 1, going for 10-129-1 on 15 targets while also catching two additional near-TDs. On the first, he was incorrectly ruled down at the one, but Zac Taylor inexplicably did not challenge the play, preferring to turn the ball over on downs. Chase had another near TD on a one-handed grab that would have been the catch of the week had his toe not come down out of bounds. But yea, you know that Chase is a superstar. And while this isn't an ideal script for him with the Cowboys unlikely to push the Bengals, he's still a locked-in WR1.

Tyler Boyd and Hayden Hurst both ran a lot of routes against the Steelers but struggled to earn targets, finishing with target rates of 13% and 14%.

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Instead, Joe Mixon finished second on the team in targets. As someone on record doubting Mixon's upside, specifically his receiving upside, a 7-for-63 receiving line was definitely unexpected. He ran a route on a healthy 58% of dropbacks and may have more juice in the passing game than we heard he would from the haters (donkeys, all of them). This matchup should be a good test of that. If the Bengals throw to Mixon heavily while making good on their status as 9-point favorites, we'll have to start treating Mixon as a truly elite fantasy back.

Cowboys Implied Team Total: 17.25

Before getting injured Dak Prescott was playing very poorly in Week 1. But Cooper Rush was even worse, finishing dead last on the week in EPA per play. Interestingly, the Cowboys' offensive line was actually decent in pass protection, grading out 15th. And Rush was actually pretty good against the blitz, grading QB10. So the issue appears to have been defensive coverage rather than pressure.

This is potentially very bad news. The Bengals rank first in coverage grade, 10th in EPA allowed per dropback, and fifth in dropback success rate. It's early, and they earned these numbers playing Mitch Trubisky... but they look like they could be a challenge for Rush.

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Rush led all quarterbacks in Week 1 with a 14.0 aDOT—he was chucking it downfield. An inefficient gunslinger under center could lead to a very low volume day for the Dallas passing game, making the Cowboys' weapons dependent on big plays.

Big plays seem miles away for a group that drastically underperformed their opportunity in Week 1. Nearly every Cowboy receiver performed worse on a per route basis than you'd expect based on their target and air yard volume.

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The chart above compares yards per route run to weighted targets per route run, which measures targets and air yard volume per route. (WTPRR was created by Ben Gretch at Stealing Signals; I've changed the scale from 0-1 to instead match YPRR, essentially using it as an expected YPRR metric).

You can see that CeeDee Lamb could have had a pretty nice game, but instead turned in a dreadful 0.64 YPRR. Dalton Schultz performed to expectations, but those expectations were mediocre, to begin with. Elliott finished with a negative YPRR, so yea, things weren't great. Lamb should be able to occasionally overcome his surroundings while Dak Prescott is out, but he looks like a risky bet to do so in any given week.

Texans at Broncos, 4:25 Eastern, Sunday

Texans Implied Team Total: 17.75

Houston took an exciting approach to 1st down against the Colts, passing 10% more than expected while maintaining a balanced approach on offense overall.

This probably provided Mills with a slight boost in his efficiency. Despite very poor accuracy that yielded a QB25 finish in CPOE, his efficiency wasn't horrible.

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He now gets a Denver defense that graded well against the Seahawks, finishing third in pass rush grade and 11th in coverage grade. Smith found some success running short RPO plays though. And Mills also enjoys regularly throwing underneath. His aDOT was 7.8 in 2021, QB27. It was actually slightly lower in Week 1, at 7.4. He's not an exciting option, but he could support some production by getting the ball out quickly.

One nice thing about Mills is that he is fully locked onto Brandin Cooks. He might not be a great quarterback, but at least he's predictable. Cooks led the team with an elite 34% target share, and 50% of air yards. Cooks is dominating a very low-volume passing game, but he's still a solid WR2 option.

Mills' tendency to only target Cooks... is not good for non-Cooks receivers. While Cooks saw 12 targets, all other Texans wide receivers and tight ends saw three or fewer.

Shockingly, though, Rex Burkhead is legitimately in play this week for running back needy teams. He ran a route on 63% of dropbacks and played on 71% of snaps. Here are some backs that had a lower snap rate than Rex Burkhead in Week 1: Derrick Henry, D'Andre Swift, Alvin Kamara, David Montgomery, Antonio Gibson, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Ezekiel Elliott. Burkhead ran very inefficiently, finishing sixth-worst in RYOE / attempt. But... Pierce was third-worst.

Burkhead should eventually cede rushing work to the rookie, but Pierce isn't challenging him just yet. And with a 63% route rate, Burkhead should continue to be involved enough to be—to quote Patrick Daugherty—a PPR scam.

Broncos Implied Team Total: 27.75

Russell Wilson is coming off a brutal return to Seattle, but there will be better days ahead. Nathaniel Hackett drew the ire of the nerd community with his rather obviously suboptimal (not to mention cowardly) decision not to put the ball in his quarterback's hands with the game on the line. But Hackett's playcalling approach was pretty decent from a macro perspective. The Broncos were a somewhat balanced but pass-first team, and they passed heavily on 1st-and-10. Wilson also ran play action on 29% of his dropbacks, an above-average rate. The broad strokes of the Broncos' offense look solid.

There's also the fact that Wilson orchestrated two would-be scoring drives that ended in goal line fumbles. Unsurprisingly then, Wilson was far more efficient than his stat line would lead you to believe. He finished third in EPA per play, second in EPA and sixth in CPOE. Wilson's accuracy is an especially bullish sign. Wilson's CPOE tailed off big time down the stretch of 2021. His 7.8% CPOE against the Seahawks is his second-highest mark in his last nine games.

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The Texans looked capable on defense in Week 1, but Wilson looks poised for a big bounce-back game here if his weapons don't let him down.

Jerry Jeudy certainly came to play against the Seahawks. He turned seven targets into 4-102-1, showing some terrific yards after catch ability. Jeudy also ran a route on 91% of dropbacks despite playing primarily out of the slot. His 17% target rate wasn't great but was actually a little bit better than Courtland Sutton's (16%).

In Sutton's defense, he had an ultra-deep aDOT of 19.1. It's hard to earn deep targets at a high rate. Sutton had 98% route participation and should have some big days when he can connect with Wilson downfield. He's probably going to be more boom/bust than we hoped unless the Broncos mix in more intermediate routes.

Meanwhile, Albert Okwuegbunam needs more deep routes. His 2.2 aDOT in Week 1 leaves a lot to be desired and could limit him to a TD-or-bust play. Eric Saubert, Eric Tomlinson, and Andrew Beck all saw targets deeper downfield, which is a sign that Okwuegbunam could see a better target mix this week. Although, it's not great that three tight end / H-back types are getting work in addition to Okwuegbunam. He's a playable tight end, but more of a high-end TE2 than a TE1.

While it was a disappointing receiving day for the wide receivers and tight ends, it was a wildly bullish receiving outing for Javonte Williams, who finished second to only Saquon Barkley in target share. Williams drew 12 targets, going 11-for-65 as a receiver. He also rushed 12 times for 58 yards, while losing a goal line fumble. He's not going to get 12 targets again... but he's facing a Texans defense that just saw 13 running back targets against it and allowed 165 rushing yards to running backs. Facing a Texas defense that was a significant run funnel last year, the Broncos should lean on Williams and Gordon at least as much as last week, making Williams an RB1 and putting Gordon in play as a down-bad RB2.

Cardinals at Raiders, 4:25 Eastern, Sunday

Cardinals Implied Team Total: 23

As I mentioned prior to Week 1, Kyler Murray has really struggled since DeAndre Hopkins has been out of the lineup. Hopkins played an outside deep threat role last season that the Cardinals weren't able to replace once he was injured. This season, the hope was that Marquise Brown could fill that role. And Brown was, as expected, a pure deep threat. Brown had an aDOT of 18.3, nearly 3x as deep as the Cardinals' other full-time wide receiver, Greg Dortch. But Brown wasn't efficient. He drew a target on just 14% of his routes and didn't show good chemistry with Murray, turning in a very poor 1.02 YPRR.

When the second option is Greg Dortch, it's going to be a problem if the No. 1 option has a bad day. Given the lack of a connection with Brown, it shouldn't be a surprise that Murray finished 19th in EPA per play. Murray's accuracy was slightly better, with a solid 13th ranking. But he's being held back by his surroundings at the moment.

It's not just a lack of weapons for Murray. Kingsbury debuted the Parody Raid in Week 1, an offense that relies on running as few plays as possible and doing that sub-optimally. The Cardinals finished last in situation-neutral pace in Week 1 (directly behind the Patriots and Giants). They also ran a run-first attack against the Chiefs and were stupefyingly run-heavy on 1st-and-10.

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Against the Chiefs... this seems like a bad plan. Unless of course, Kliff Kingsbury's plan was to produce an NFL-low point differential in his home opener. In that case, nailed it; no notes.

The Raiders' defense had a bad outing against the Chargers, ranking 30th in EPA allowed per dropback and 29th in dropback success rate. In 2021, their rep was that they had a good pass rush but were nevertheless beatable. After grading just 17th in pass rush last week, they may be a defense to target this season.

But the weapons in Arizona really are a problem. Dortch ran a route on 95% of dropbacks, which tied Brown for the team lead. And, give the guy credit, he led the wide receivers with 1.50 YPRR. A.J. Green was abysmal, with 0.42 YPRR; he was so bad that Andre Baccellia mixed in for seven routes on the outside, keeping Green's route rate to 70%.

Andy Isabella was also ineffective with 0.67 YPRR in an ancillary role (34%). A banged-up Zach Ertz managed only a 61% route rate and contributed essentially nothing, with 0.52 YPRR.

Rondale Moore looks set to miss this week, meaning that somehow Dortch (his replacement) is the most bankable option in this offense. Brown is the higher upside option though. As a big play threat against what could be a bad defense, Brown could come alive this week.

The only Cardinals player to flash dynamic receiving ability in Week 1 was backup RB Eno Benjamin. Benjamin played 34% of snaps with third-string RB Darrel Williams playing zero. He's a strong add in medium-depth leagues and a must-hold in deep leagues. For now, James Conner will continue to lead the way. Conner played 72% of the snaps and had a 16% target share. His role isn't in any danger this week and he profiles as a volume-based RB2, with enough TD upside to deliver RB1 value.

Raiders Implied Team Total: 28.5

While the Raiders' pass rush disappointed last week, the Chargers' did not. They finished fifth in pass rush grade in Week 1 and ended the game with back-to-back strip sacks of Carr. Carr's efficiency didn't stand up well to the pressure; he ranked just 26th in EPA per play. His accuracy was also not great, finishing 18th.

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But Josh McDaniels didn't seem phased. He called an aggressive game with a 7% PROE and a 6% PROE on 1st-and-10. The Raiders were a true pass-heavy team in McDaniels' first game. That could pay dividends in a much easier Week 2 matchup.

The Cardinals finished dead last in EPA allowed per dropback and dropback success rate in Week 1. Yes, that was partly the result of playing Patrick Mahomes. But it was also the result of poor play, as evidenced by the Cardinals' 28th ranking in pass rush grade and 32nd ranking in coverage grade. In a much more difficult matchup last week, McDaniels had Carr's back. He could put his foot on the gas facing a great passing matchup this week.

However, the Cardinals also rank 24th in EPA allowed per rush and 28th in run defense grade. If the Cardinals' offense can't get it together enough to push the Raiders, McDaniels could get away with a more conservative game plan if he decides to play to the strength of his offensive line—which was much better at run blocking than in protection. Therefore, Raiders stacks are most interesting with Marquise Brown coming back; he can help speed the game up as well as push the Raiders to keep throwing.

Davante Adams is incredible. In his first game with the Raiders he saw a 45% target share and a 54% air yard share. His 1.06 WPOR trailed only A.J. Brown (1.23) and Justin Jefferson (1.17). Adams has the special ability to earn extremely high target volume 10+ yards downfield. With an aDOT of 11.8, Adams isn't just feasting on volume in a good offense... he is making the offense better. Even if the Cardinals don't make this a game, Adams can have a big day. If the game blows up, he will too.

Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow are more dependent on strong passing volume this week. Both players were on the field for 80%+ route rates, but neither had strong target rates.

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Even still, Renfrow had a very bad 3.5 YPT that will regress positively going forward. If this game gets fun he'll have opportunities.

In the backfield, Josh Jacobs played 60% of snaps, which is a bit better than where I thought he might land. But he still fell within the Damien Harris zone (Harris has never topped a 64% snap share). Jacobs benefited from Zamir White being a healthy scratch, allowing him to handle 10-of-13 carries. If the Raiders get up on the Cardinals early, Jacobs could have a nice day salting away the game.

 

Bears at Packers, 8:20 Eastern, Sunday

Bears Implied Team Total: 15.75

Due to the conditions in Chicago last week it's hard to take too much from the Bears' Week 1. However, it's actually pretty interesting that they had a positive PROE on 1st-and-10, despite an overall PROE that was ultra-run-heavy.

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This could be an encouraging sign for how the Bears will play in better conditions. Last year's Bears were often comically conservative on 1st down, which put Justin Fields in a tough spot. Moreover, the Bears' 1st down passing rate could be a sign that their overall game plan was weather-related last week. Over a large sample, PROE and PROE on 1st-and-10 are strongly correlated. In other words, if the Bears are going to pass more than expected on 1st down... they may be a balanced team rather than a run-heavy one. Then again, their 1st down pass rate could be small sample noise, and we could see them run heavily on all downs this week.

But the Bears flashed some additional encouraging signs. Fields ran play action on 35% of his dropbacks, up from 24% last season. In 2021, Fields' 35% rate would have ranked behind only Tua Tagovailoa and Lamar Jackson.

Fields also executed seven designed runs, a new career-high. The new coaching staff appears to be playing to Fields' strengths. With volume likely to be up in this non-monsoon game, Fields has a chance to emerge as a fantasy star if the Bears aren't afraid to lean on him.

Fields' No. 1 wide receiver no-showed against the 49ers, but you can't really blame him given the horrendous game conditions. Mooney ran a route on 96% of dropbacks and will be out there for every route in a game where the Bears' passing game has a chance to be legitimately frisky. He's worth treating like you had him ranked in the preseason.

Cole Kmet is also coming off a no-show—a literal zero-burger on one target. Kmet's Week 1 was more concerning because he had good-not-great route participation of 70%. He's probably worth going back to as well, it just requires more faith.

David Montgomery's summer included the most infamous special teams reps of all time, and his outlook arguably got worse in Week 1. Montgomery was extremely inefficient on 17 carries, going for just 26 yards. Montgomery also played a sub-workhorse 66% of snaps and only handled 46% of team rushing attempts. In 2021 he played 75% of snaps and had 65% of team attempts. It was not a great look for a back that has generally needed a large workload to generate value. But... while Montgomery only saw four targets, that was good for a 24% target share. It's possible that the new coaching staff has plans for him as a pass catcher. That prospect keeps him firmly in the RB2 mix this week.

Packers Implied Team Total: 25.75

Much like Week 1 of 2021, the Packers got off to a horrific start this season. Rodgers finished 30th in EPA per play and the Packers defense finished 24th in EPA allowed per dropback. But their defense was only 15th in dropback success rate. They couldn't stop Justin Jefferson from putting up big plays, but they should be a competitive unit. And Rodgers' accuracy wasn't terrible, he ranked 19th in EPA per play.

The Packers also played aggressively, with a 5% PROE and a 14% PROE on 1st-and-10. They are set up for improvement as soon as Rodgers can develop some chemistry with his receivers.

For fantasy purposes, we don't just need chemistry... we need commitment. No Packers receiver ran a full slate of routes. Four wide receivers posted rates of 58%-67% and three tight ends were between 19-44%. With Alan Lazard looking on track for Week 2, things only get more complicated. Christian Watson, who led the team with 29 routes honestly feels like the best bet. He's shown he can win deep; now he just needs to catch the ball.

As they figure it out at receiver, the Packers seem content to lean on a very strong backfield duo in Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon. Although... I may have those names in reverse order. Jones played 61% of snaps to Dillon's 51% and ran a route on 65% of dropbacks to Dillon's 37%, but Dillon was a force in the passing game when on the field. His 38% target rate dwarfed Jones' 18% and led to an 18% to 15% lead in target share despite Dillon's lack of route opportunities. Given Jones' snaps and routes advantage he should still be considered the 1A back, but Dillon is making a strong case for more playing time. Since entering the league in 2021, Dillon has 1.46 YPRR; Jones is at 1.40 over that span. Since 2021, Dillon is at 1.61 with Jones at 1.48. Jones should still be ahead of Dillon this week, but it wouldn't be a shock if Dillon flipped him in snaps sooner rather than later.

 

Titans at Bills, 7:15 PM Eastern, Monday

Titans Implied Team Total: 19.5

Not all run-heavy offenses are built the same. When going run heavy, some teams make an attempt to pass in neutral situations like 1st-and-10. For example, check out how the Colts operated during the Frank Reich era with Andrew Luck, Jacoby Brissett, Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz, and Matt Ryan at quarterback.

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The Colts have limited passing volume overall, but have tended to be aggressive on 1st-and-10. Overall passing attempts are limited by this approach but it ensures that a decent percentage of the passes the quarterback does make will be in favorable situations.

I'm sure you didn't need any help finding the Vrabel-era Titans in the chart above. Also hired in 2018, Vrabel has taken a more ideological position on the running game: run the damn ball.

The Titans took this to another level against the Giants, posting a chart stretching -27% pass rate over expected on 1st down.

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This approach was a reverse Reich in a sense. For as run-heavy as the Titans were on 1st down, you would have expected them to be even more run-heavy overall. This approach puts the passing game under more pressure; a lower percentage of Tannehill's passes were in favorable passing situations. If you're trying to lose to Daniel Jones, this will help get you there.

Counterpoint—the Titans played a very similar style in their Week 6 win over the Bills last season.

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Running on 1st-and-10 might be a missed opportunity for the passing game, but it's still a good opportunity for the running game. Derrick Henry put up 143 yards the last time these teams faced each other. The Titans are likely to set him up for success once again.

Henry might need the help. After his rushing efficiency dropped off precipitously in 2021, I was curious where he would land in Week 1. He currently ranks RB21 in RYOE/attempt.

Meanwhile, despite being put in some tough situations, Ryan Tannehill was quite efficient last week, as he has been for his Titans career. Tannehill finished QB5 in EPA per play against the Giants and is the third-most efficient quarterback in EPA per play since 2019. Volume is always going to be an issue, but Tannehill has proven repeatedly that he can deliver efficiently. Although, that could be made more difficult by the Bills' secondary, which ranks fifth in coverage grade.

Tannehill isn't the only Titan to deliver high efficiency on low volume. Treylon Burks had a low-key tantalizing debut, turning just 13 routes into five targets, three receptions, and 55 yards for 4.23 YPRR. He also did so on an aDOT of 19.0 and with 85% of his routes out-wide. Combined with his traditional preseason deployment, this should eliminate concerns that he will be limited to a gadget role. Burks also logged 10 snaps in the running game, finishing as PFF's WR13 in run blocking; Woods ranked WR60 and Westbrook-Ikhine ranked WR107. Everything Burks did in Week 1 was on a very small sample, but keep in mind the context—this is the Titans' first-round pick. The fact that he excelled in all areas should help earn him more playing time, quickly. Burks has a few weeks to go before he's fantasy relevant though. He ran a route on only 37% of dropbacks. He's very likely to be below 50% again this week, but we will see his role grow soon if he keeps producing on limited opportunities.

The same can be said for Kyle Philips, who produced an elite 3.14 YPRR on a 60% route rate. Philips played 68% of his snaps in the slot and probably will max out around 80% of routes this season, but he certainly made the case for more playing time against the Giants.

The rookies were also aided by very poor performances by Woods and Westbrook-Ikhine. As I mentioned heading into Week, Woods has been an underneath target for the last three seasons. Coming off an ACL tear, he seems like a poor bet to consistently win downfield. But if someone else can stretch the field, he can more easily soak up volume underneath.

Therefore, if Burks takes snaps from Westbrook-Ikhine—who had 0.59 YPRR as an underneath option—it could actually help Woods by opening up space underneath. But Woods has a long way to go. He ran a route on 74% of dropbacks—so he is not a true full-time player. Even in a game that should force the Titans to pass more than usual, Woods looks like a low-floor bet.

Austin Hooper looks like a deep league drop. He ran 23 routes (66%), while Geoff Swaim and Chig Okonkwo combined for 20 routes. There was some hope that Hooper would have a full-time role at tight end, but that appears not to be the case.

Bills Implied Team Total: 29

The Bills' offense was glorious in Week 1. Perhaps the best stats to illustrate aren't from the Bills but the Rams. Even after the Bills wrecked them in Week 1, the Rams still ranked 14th in pass rush grade and 19th in coverage grade. The Rams' defense played ok... and Josh Allen still finished second in EPA per play.

This week he gets a Titans defense that played very well in Week 1. The Titans ranked fourth in pass rush grade and fifth in coverage grade against the Giants. Of the two, the Titans' strong coverage is more important. The key to beating Allen is generally through good coverage; Allen was PFF's highest-graded quarterback under pressure last season.

But Allen's receivers could make good coverage difficult. As hoped, Gabriel Davis was ready to handle a full-time role in the offense. This is great news for Davis, but also for Allen and Stefon Diggs. While running a route on 100% of dropbacks, Davis stretched the Rams' defense with an aDOT of 16.4. Diggs operated as an intermediate target with an 11.7 aDOT. He went 8-122-1, his second-highest yardage output since Week 1 of 2021. While Davis put up an elite 2.32 YPRR, Diggs posted an other-worldly 4.07. It's not just that Davis and Diggs can coexist. Davis' emergence is good for Diggs. Both players look like locked-in starters regardless of matchup.

Behind Diggs and Davis though, it gets dicey. None of the other pass catchers ran a full slate of routes, and none drew receiving volume. Looking at WOPR (which combines target share and air yard share), only Diggs and Davis saw fantasy-relevant volume.

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Zach Moss actually had the third-highest WOPR on the team in a surprisingly strong receiving role. But that role looks tough to count on, given that Singletary led 18-14 in routes and that Moss is probably a seat-warmer for James Cook. Moss could still be a thorn in Singletary's side by stealing goal line work. But overall, Singletary looks like the way to play this backfield for now. Putting him in lineups is just far less exciting than we thought it might be.

Vikings at Eagles, 8:30 PM Eastern, Monday

Vikings Implied Team Total: 24.25

Through one week Kevin O'Connell is delivering on fantasy managers' hopes for him. As I wrote last week, the hope for O'Connell was that he would be pass-first, despite a low probability that he would be truly pass-heavy. He delivered on that with a 4% PROE, in line with where the Packers were last season. But the bigger hope for O'Connell was that he would help scheme up targets for Justin Jefferson. He delivered on that in an even bigger way.

This intelligent usage of O'Connell's superstar was quite helpful for Kirk Cousins, who finished ninth in EPA per play and ninth in CPOE. He looks poised for a strong season in an offense that isn't afraid to build its attack around a non-RB.

And, of course, this is an amazing development for Justin Jefferson. Already borderline unstoppable against cornerbacks, Jefferson is going to feast if regularly matched up against linebackers and safeties.

For Adam Thielen, it's the same situation as last year. He has the fantasy profile of a tight end but burns a wide receiver spot in your lineup. With a 7.7 aDOT, he will be reliant on shootouts and TDs for value this year. This profiles as a high-scoring game, though, so he's in play as a FLEX option.

At tight end, I've seen enough. I'm ready to drop Irv Smith. Smith ran two fewer routes than Johnny Mundt and drew targets at a lower rate.

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To be fair, I could be biased. I've never understood the hype around Smith. Even for a tight end, he was unproductive at Alabama. And sure, he was a second-round pick who was 20 years old on draft night... but that was over three years ago. His prospect bull case now boils down: he was once young. You can certainly hold to see if his routes increase. But you're betting on a guy with a poor career YPRR of 1.12. He profiles as a TD-or-bust play even if he eventually secures a full-time role.

Dalvin Cook flashed major upside in Week 1, the type of upside that has me annoyed that he's not on the main slate in DFS. He ran a route on 70% of dropbacks while playing 77% of snaps. Sure, he only saw 20 carries and three targets, but that kind of usage is eventually going to lead to some massive performances. The Eagles, who look willing to go into shootout mode and rank just 20th in PFF's run defense grades should provide an excellent game environment for Cook this week.

Eagles Implied Team Total: 26.25

A.J. Brown was arguable the biggest question of the 2022 offseason. Would his addition lead to a less run-heavy Eagles offense? Could he help facilitate Jalen Hurts' breakout into superstardom? Would he ice the other Eagles receivers? In Week 1 at least those answers were yes, yes, and yes.

The Eagles weren't pass-heavy in Week 1, but they were pass-first with a 3% PROE—in line with the Cowboys and Rams last year and well above Philadelphia's -5% rate in 2021.

More passing was great news for Jalen Hurts, who generated 51% of his 2021 rushing yards on scrambles. A more balanced approach should lead to more passing volume and overall play volume, while also maintaining Hurts' immense rushing upside. And Hurts looked capable of handling more of the offense, finishing QB6 in EPA per play.

Hurts' accuracy continues to be a concern, however. He finished just 29th in CPOE and now faces a defense that ranks third in coverage grade. Hurts is a great bet for big plays, they just won't always be big plays for the offense.

Brown does appear to be the catalyst for the more balanced approach on offense, given that he saw a 46% target share and a 77% air yard share. But his massive volume also killed any benefit that DeVonta Smith or Dallas Goedert might have enjoyed from increased passing volume. Fortunately for Smith and Goedert though, Brown's target volume can't sustain at anywhere near these levels.

Goedert in particular looks like a target. He ran a route on 90% of dropbacks, which was fourth among tight ends behind Mark Andrews, Dalton Schultz, and Tyler Higbee. His 13% target share was definitely a concern, but Goedert has shown he can earn targets. With elite route volume, he has some big days ahead.

DeVonta Smith is a little trickier since he doesn't come with tight end eligibility. After Ertz was traded last season, he trailed Goedert in target share. And he saw just two targets in Week 1. Still, he ran a route on 98% of dropbacks and could be in for a nice bounceback if the Vikings are completely focused on taking away Brown.

Brown, of course, is an elite play. He leads the league with a 1.23 weighted opportunity rating. The only other wide receivers over 1.0 are Justin Jefferson and Davante Adams.

In the backfield, the media is refusing to cover the fact that Miles Sanders finished RB3 in NFL Next Gen's RYOE/attempt. You should screenshot this if you're reading it. My editors are sure to delete it soon. But... it's true. Miles Sanders was damn good against the Lions, reminding us that he is still a very capable breakaway runner. The Vikings look willing to get into a back-and-forth game with the Eagles, with could lead to plenty of points. As always, Boston Scott or Kenny Gainwell (or both) will probably snipe a TD—but Sanders still profiles as an upside RB2 in a game with the third-highest total of the week.

 

Sources

To write this article I relied on the following stats, metrics and grades.  

  • Expected Points Added per Play (EPA/Play).
    • Efficiency metric based on how much a play improved a team's likelihood of scoring. 
    • I use this metric primarily for QB efficiency, but also for defensive efficiency.
  • Completion Percentage Over Expected
  • Pass Rate over Expected
    • Measures passing decisions against what would be expected given the game situation.
  • Situation Neutral Pass Rate
    • Measures pass rate on downs and in situations when a team truly has the choice to pass or run.
  • Situation Neutral Seconds per Play
    • Seconds between plays in neutral game script.
    • Faster play generally means more plays, which provides more opportunity for fantasy scoring.
  • Adjusted Line Yards
  • Snaps and Snap Share
    • Probably the single most important stat for running back opportunity.
      • Teams check in and out of runs with only one back on the field. Being on the field is critical.
      • Data from Pro Football Focus, AddMoreFunds and RotoViz
  • Target Share and Air Yard share
    • The combination of these is called WOPR. Created by Josh Hermsmeyer, this metric scales from 0-1.
      • Data from Pro Football Focus and RotoViz
  • Routes run per dropback
    • Snap share for receivers... since I'm not concerned with who is playing run-blocking snaps.
      • Data from Pro Football Focus
  • Yards Per Route Run
    • A YPRR of 1.8+ is good and anything 2+ is very good. 
    • This metric is particularly useful for young wide receivers whose role could grow as a result of strong play.
    • It can also help identify truly elite wide receivers.
    • It filters out in-game injuries and blowouts much better than target share does.
      • Data from PFF 
  • Target per Route Run
    • TPRR and Yards per Target combine to make up YPRR. 
    • TPRR is especially useful for tight ends.
      • Some offenses and quarterbacks prioritize throwing to the tight end much more than others.
      • Some tight ends are far better at getting open than others.
    • TPRR is much more stable than YPT, so in small samples especially, I'd rather know who is drawing targets than what happened afterward.
  • Expected Fantasy Points. 
    • Both RotoViz and PFF have similar Expected Points metrics that adjust opportunity based on the context of each play.
      • I am referencing PFF's metric unless otherwise stated.
  • A number of other PFF stats including Time to Throw, Play Action Rate, Pressure Rate, Screen Passes and Defensive Grades.