The only thing better than one person offering fantasy advice would be two people offering fantasy advice. Brendan Samson is here to hammer the starts of the week while Michael Sicoli is here to temper expectations and label some sits of the week. A dynamic duo for the ages, let’s get into it!
Joe Burrow @ PHI
Last week Smokin’ Joe Burrow had 61 passing attempts, that is right 61.
While this may be a familiar stat if the Heisman Trophy winner and national champion was still at LSU, it’s unheard of for a rookie in his second NFL game. The Bengals still suffered a Week 2 loss to the Browns, but his 316 yards and 3 touchdowns with no interceptions is promising.
This week Burrow takes his talents to Philadelphia. Coming off of a game where he passed for the second most attempts by a rookie in NFL history, I do not see the game script changing with an Eagles secondary that has proven to be weak. Look for another high-volume game and a potential rushing touchdown.
Jerick McKinnon @ NYG
2020 is in fact the twilight zone. If the different, unlikely events that have already occurred this year are not enough, just look at the fact that Jerick McKinnon is the healthiest player on the 49ers.
After signing a lucrative contract with the 49ers in 2018, McKinnon has been met with constant injury. This year is the first he will be able to play with his new team. With that being said, the injuries to Tevin Coleman (knee), Raheem Mostert (knee) and any other relevant 49ers back has placed McKinnon into a promising role.
This week the 49ers line up against the Giants, a match made for fantasy heaven. With no Jimmy Garoppolo and a depleted receiver core, Kyle Shanahan will be forced to become a back heavy offense. The Giants have been poor against backs in the first two weeks of the season, allowing Benny Snell to go for 113 yards in Week 1 and David Montgomery to catch 3 passes for 45 yards paired with 86 rushing yards and a score in Week 2. Look for McKinnon to continue the trend and gash the Giants’ defense in Week 3.
Diontae Johnson vs. HOU
With Ben Roethlisberger back at the helm, the Diontae Johnson breakout year is underway. Last week, Johnson built onto his Week 1 performance, posting eight receptions for 92 yards and a touchdown. While the output is extremely encouraging, the most intriguing stat is his double-digit targets in each of the first two weeks, volume is always a plus especially in PPR leagues.
This week the Steelers take on the Texans, the same secondary that Sammy Watkins torched, for upwards of 20 fantasy points in Week 1. With Johnson getting ample looks, and with Juju Smith-Schuster looking questionable at practice, look for Johnson as a big time play this week.
Drew Sample @ PHI
Last week against the Browns, the Bengals sampled Drew’s abilities after C.J. Uzomah went down with an injury.
I apologize, you’re guaranteed at least one cheesy joke per article.
Now after impressing in the second half, Sample is looking at a lead tight end role for Week 3. There is no better time for this opportunity than a matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles. In the first two weeks of the season, Philly has been punished by tight ends. Week 1 matchup Logan Thomas recorded 4 catches for 37 yards and a touchdown, and in Week 2 Tyler Higbee flourished with five catches for 54 yards and 3 scores. If Sample can keep the thriving tight end trend going, he will be a big Week 3 performer.
Deshaun Watson @ PIT
Deshaun Watson is a terrific player, but he faces a pair of buzz saws on Sunday called T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree, who both rank inside the top five in pressures this season. The Texans’ weapons have not been good enough to date, and Watson predictably struggled as a result. His rushing ability and overall talent build a nice floor, but expecting his Week 2 finish as the QB22 seems like a fair bet. The 2017 first-round pick has been under pressure at the second-highest rate in the league and that will only get worse against Pittsburgh. Watson won’t tank your team if you play him — but streaming a guy like Joe Burrow or Ryan Tannehill might be a better bet than playing Watson this week.
Todd Gurley vs. CHI
There is no reason to trust Todd Gurley in a tough matchup against Chicago, who returns defensive end Robert Quinn. It’s been a slow start for the former Ram, who has not looked like his old self. More worryingly, he splits time with Ito Smith and Brian Hill, playing only 46 percent of snaps in Week 1 before jumping a bit to 64 percent in Week 2. The lack of rushing volume is concerning, and without stable receiving work the floor completely bottoms out. He has just one reception for two yards through two games and averages just .49 fantasy points per opportunity, which ranks 82nd among running backs. Gurley has not been good enough to earn a starting spot in your starting lineup; he’s a matchup play at best.
T.Y. Hilton vs. NYJ
But Sicoli, it’s the Jets!
No. T.Y. Hilton has not given fantasy owners a single reason to trust him and the matchup does not change that. Shockingly, Phillip Rivers has appeared as the solution this season, whereas Hilton looks like the problem. He hasn’t looked like the star he used to be, but even more worrisome was the snap count in Week 2. Even with Parris Campbell going down early, Hilton only played 58% of snaps behind rookie Michael Pittman Jr. and Zach Pascal, who stepped into Campbell’s slot role. The team’s identity is already centered around the run game — Jonathan Taylor’s 26 carries should say it all. With both limited volume and snaps in a game where the Colts should come out on top, there’s enough caution to put Hilton on the bench until he proves me wrong.
Dalton Schultz vs. SEA
The preseason love for Blake Jarwin unfortunately was for naught after the tight end tore his ACL in Week 1, but 2019 fourth-round pick Dalton Schultz picked up the slack without missing a beat in Week 2 when he finished as the TE7. He looked strong and quick, but more importantly, appeared to be a safety blanket for Dak Prescott. The quarterback had combined with old and busted Jason Witten last season 63 times on 83 targets, a reason why so many were excited for Jarwin. This could certainly be a sign of things to come for Schultz, but for now, he’s better off outside of your starting lineup. Seattle has allowed just five scoreless receptions for 57 yards to all tight ends through two weeks. With Jamaal Adams and Bobby Wagner in coverage, there is reason to believe that this will be a lasting trend in Seattle. There are many mouths to feed in Dallas, and with a matchup disadvantage, Schultz can be left on the bench or the wire for the time being.