Sorry Eagles -7 bettors…
In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by Paramount+:
Three key TNF moments that swung fantasy matchups
Fantasy Questions for Week 2: Rachaad White, Seahawks O-line, more.
Week 2 Rankings & Tiers: Anthony Richardson has arrived.
Paramount+ Matchup of the Week: AFC North showdown.
Best Bets of the Week: You hear that? Da Bears.
It’s 9/15. Take it away, Ian Hartitz…
The Eagles and Vikings overcame an incredibly sloppy first 15 minutes to put on a rather fun back-and-forth shootout that culminated in a 34-28 victory for the birds.
There were plenty of great plays throughout the game, but three sequences of plays NOT made will have massive fantasy implications — and you won’t notice their existence by just glancing at the box score.
🦅 D’Andre Swift was so close, yet so far away
The ex-Lions RB had a HUGE day at the office, converting 31 touches into 181 yards and a TD.
That said, Swift got the football down to the one-yard line not once but TWICE … only to have QB Jalen Hurts sneak the ball across the plane for the TD. Swift’s face on the second instance brought back memories of Cal Naughton Jr. asking Ricky Bobby if one of these days maybe HE could get slingshot into first place.
Swift would FINALLY find the end zone from two yards out late in the fourth quarter.
Congrats, Swift managers, but see ya in the Sheesh Report.
🏈 “Throw A.J. Brown the football.” - A.J. Brown
The Eagles’ stud WR had some choice words for his QB on the sideline at the end of the third quarter. AJB’s tactics seemed to work, as Hurts immediately targeted him three times in the next four plays.
Three plays later: Punt. You hate to see it (unless, of course, you’re playing against Hurts and/or Brown in fantasy).
Extra tilting for AJB managers: DeVonta Smith went OFF with four receptions for 131 yards and a TD.
Better days ahead for you guys, but yeah, yesterday sucked.
⚔️ The nation is divided over the touchback rule
If an offensive player fumbles the football into the end zone and then the ball goes out of bounds, the defense gets possession at the 20-yard line.
Personally, I think this rule is fair. Hold onto the football near the most precious area of the field if you care so much about keeping it, ya know?
Okay, quit yelling at me: Most hate this rule — especially Justin Jefferson’s fantasy managers after getting got on his near 31-yard TD.
WOW. Did Justin Jefferson really fumble here? #vikings#eagles#nfl
— Last Take™ (@TheRealLastTake)
Sep 15, 2023
Like Al Pacino once said: Life's this game of inches, so is (fantasy) football.
Week 1 was great and all, but you know what has the potential to be even cooler? Week 2, baby.
Ian Hartitz’s goal: Break down Week 2 by asking – and attempting to answer – the most meaningful fantasy-related questions possible.
🔔🐄 Is Josh Jacobs still being used as one of the league’s most-fed RBs?
Abso-lutely. From Fantasy Life’s new (and free!) Utilization Report Tool:
Jacobs’ 19-48-0 rushing and 2-23-0 receiving lines didn’t exactly take fantasy managers from six to midnight in Week 1; just realize the Raiders sure seem to remain fully committed to featuring the reigning first-team All-Pro RB as one of the league’s most-fed players.
This week’s road trip against the Bills isn’t insurmountable – just ask Breece Hall – but regardless: Jacobs remains a matchup-proof RB1 thanks to his nearly unmatched combination of innate talent and immense workload.
☠️ Does Rachaad White deserve “F*ck it, the volume is there” starting treatment?
To an extent, although a worrying case is starting to be made that White is the NFL’s single-least efficient rusher of the football. Since the beginning of last season…
PFF rush grade: 67.5 (No. 42 among 47 RBs with 100-plus carries)
Yards per carry: 3.5 (tied for No. 46)
Yards after contact per carry: 2.3 (No. 47)
Missed tackles forced per carry: 0.1 (No. 43)
And yet, White received workhorse treatment in Week 1, handling 79% of the offense’s total snaps, 80% of the short-down-and-distance looks, as well as 100% of the two-minute reps.
Up next is a Bears defense that had next to no answer for Aaron Jones last week and allowed the second-most PPR points per game to the position in 2022. Fire up White as a usage-based RB2 overdue for a quality performance.
🏥 Can this Seahawks offense survive without their starting offensive tackles?
It sure didn’t look like it based on their second-half performance last week.
First half: 13 points, 10 first downs, 5.3 yards per play, +0.122 EPA per play
Second half: 0 points, 0 first downs, 0.9 yards per play, -0.754 EPA per play
Head Coach Pete Carroll said LT Charles Cross (toe, IR) and RT Abraham Lucas (knee) are both “hurting” and it’ll be a “challenge” for them to suit up this week. The team’s decision to sign 41-year-old OT Jason Peters off the street reflects the reality that this group will probably be dealing with backups on both ends of the line of scrimmage.
Not great ahead of a matchup with stud second-year Lions DE Aidan Hutchinson, who was one of just seven players to rack up at least seven pressures in Week 1.
WR D.K. Metcalf and RB Kenneth Walker are the only Seahawks who need to be started ahead of this sneaky dud matchup. Obviously, many will have to also take a long glance at the team’s additional talented skill-position weapons; just realize I’ll be answering most close start/sit questions involving Tyler Lockett and Jaxon Smith-Njigba with the other guy as long as this offense continues to have such glaring problems on the line of scrimmage.
🐴 Tier 2 - Anthony Richardson, Colts
Richardson popped for 21.9 points in Week 1, and his underlying utilization tells us there is much more to come.
The rookie gobbled up 27% of the Colts’ designed rushing attempts and delivered a 9% scramble rate, which led to 10 total rush attempts. Since 2012, QBs with that sort of run-game involvement averaged a QB7 finish with 23 points per game.
Houston provides Richardson with a matchup against the sixth-worst graded run defense, per PFF. While Lamar Jackson didn’t have to flex on the Texans last weekend thanks to the game script, the Colts are only 1-point favorites in what is expected to be a close contest.
Look for Richardson to remain a huge component of a run game without superstar RB power.
Richardson is the newest dual-threat cheat code at the position and ranks as my QB8 this weekend.
👑 Running Back
👨🍳 Tier 3 - James Cook, Bills
Based on preseason utilization, we knew that Cook had a chance to play an expanded role in 2023. However, the role we saw him in on Monday Night was in the high-end range of potential outcomes.
Damien Harris came in the game to steal two carries inside the 10-yard line, but Cook’s 67% rush share and 14% target share were highly encouraging. Even if Cook sees less than 35% of the totes near the goal line, he still offers top-12 upside based on historical comps.
The Jets were a tough Week 1 matchup, but the second-year RB gets a much more manageable matchup against the Raiders in Week 2. The Bills are 8.5-point favorites and offer the second-best team total on the slate at 27.5 points.
Based on his Week 1 role and this matchup, Cook is a consensus top 15 RB this weekend in the Fantasy Life rankings.
👀 How Did You Watch the Best Game From Week One?!
If the answer wasn't Paramount+, you're doing it wrong!
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Sign up for Paramount+ now to catch CBS games all season long including your local Week 2 matchups:
1:00 pm ET Kick-Off
Kansas City at Jacksonville
Baltimore at Cincinnati
LA Chargers at Tennessee
Las Vegas at Buffalo
4:25 pm ET Kick-Off
NY Jets at Dallas
Washington at Denver
Make it the best season yet and follow the road to Las Vegas with Paramount+.
You like betting on football, we like betting on football: Everyone likes betting on football. Especially ace resident Fantasy Life betting analyst Geoff, who has some Week 2 best bets to get off his chest.
Week 1 was full of ups and downs.
A couple of the spread bets got killed (RIP #DannyDimesSZN), but the underdog pick came through as Jimmy Garoppolo improved on his already stellar career record as an underdog – and also got more handsome somehow.
Just like last week, I’ve broken down the best bets into a few different categories and also made suggestions like alternate lines to look for, or player props to back or fade.
Let’s hop in and get primed for a big Sunday…
✍️ Bears +2.5 at Tampa Bay (-105, BetMGM)
Naturally, this has me worried (but not worried enough not to bet it). The Bears were one of the most disappointing teams of Week 1, but when you look at their performance in a vacuum, it wasn’t nearly as bad as some of the other stinkers that we saw on the first Sunday of the year.
Tampa Bay managed to squeak by Minnesota somehow, but it was one of the luckiest performances of the week. They could have easily been blown out and been home underdogs this week instead. Betting teams in Week 2, that lost by 10 or more points in Week 1, has also been profitable.
Per BetLabs, teams that lost their opener by more than 10 points are 39-22-1 ATS in week 2. Chicago obviously fits this trend after losing 38-20 in week 1.
✍️ Prop: Nico Collins over 46.5 receiving yards (-120, BetMGM)
Per the Fantasy Life Utilization report, Collins had a 26% target share despite having just a 72% route participation rate.
He should run more routes in week 2, with Noah Brown (76% route participation rate in week 1) having been placed on IR.
Collins’ 64% air yards share from week 1 is also extremely encouraging and the fact he’s going against a Colts secondary that allowed the seventh-worst yards-per-attempt-against mark also makes him a good milestone/alternative line bet (75+ yards).
It’s #LOVEHATE Day! Week 2 is now posted with a story that, no matter how you your week 1 went, will make you feel better about your own team.
— Matthew Berry (@MatthewBerryTMR)
Sep 14, 2023
😥 Bad injury news for everyone’s Week 1 waiver wire darling. Please get better.
🍩 Donuts are a better food than statline. Don’t worry, positive regression is on the way.
📺 Week 1 takeaways to apply to Week 2. Matthew Berry, Golden Tate, and the Dream Team cover it all.
🤣 Amon-Ra St. Brown nearly got an excessive celebration penalty last week. McCringleberry would be proud.
✍️ When the field zigs, you should zag. Tournament-winning DFS plays for Week 2.
❓You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. The guys (we need a nickname for this trio) dive into EVERYTHING for Week 2.
💰 5 picks to 10x your money. Underpriced players to target in Pick’em.
👨⚕️ Surgery day for the four-time MVP. Prayers up for a good recovery.
😬 Key workload report for Broncos WR Jerry Jeudy (hamstring). Well, that’s not ideal.
👀 New Browns alternate uniforms ahead of Monday night football. These are HOT.
👍 The Giants NEED their No. 1 pass-game option to stay healthy. This seems like good news.
Every Friday, Fantasy Life will highlight our matchup of the week, presented by Paramount+. This week’s pick features an inter-division battle between two of the very best QBs that the NFL has to offer. Chris is here to help you get that popcorn ready…
Writing about this game is going to be painful. Honestly, I blame myself.
Over a week ago, I looked at the schedule, surveyed the matchups, and instantly “knew” Baltimore-Cincinnati was going to be the premiere matchup of the week. It had everything we’d want. We had two high-end QBs and electric passing games with early-round fantasy picks on both sides.
And then, Week 1 happened.
Oh, and did I mention I’m a Bengals fan?
But still, the storylines are intriguing regardless of which team you support. The Ravens got the W in their season opener, but the day extracted a heavy toll.
Meanwhile, the team with the $275M QB couldn’t top 275 yards of total offense. But before we relive my nightmare from Sunday, let’s dive into Baltimore’s approach and what we can expect for fantasy.
📊 Ravens Week 2 Outlook
In short, Baltimore’s aerial attack looked like it didn’t get any reps in the preseason. And it was missing its star TE. But we got a sense of how they want to operate.
Time per Play: 39.3 seconds – would’ve been their third-fasted pace of ‘22
PROE: +1.1% in neutral situation; -1% last season
QB Design Run Rate: 6.7%; 23.2% in ‘22
OC Todd Monken emphasized more passing and more plays for the Ravens over the offseason. And Lamar Jackson hinted at what’s coming through the first half against Houston. At the same time, Zay Flowers announced it.
The rookie’s 78-yard performance is the seventh-best among all first-year WRs going back to 2018.
He was the only Ravens’ pass-catcher to run double-digit routes, and he had more targets per route run (0.36 ) than Calvin Ridley (0.32), Chris Olave (0.31), and Davante Adams (0.31).
Flowers was Baltimore’s WR1. And he’ll likely give the Bengals the most fits when on the field.
Not only was Flowers a force on the perimeter (9th-best YPRR among all WRs), but he was active in the slot. Zay was the only Baltimore WR to earn more multiple looks from the interior, with a 42.9% route rate.
Similarly, Amari Cooper (20 yards) and Elijah Moore (43) used their route-running skills to create three of Deshaun Watson’s ten passing first downs.
Given Flowers’ versatility both inside and out, he’ll have the best chance to continue producing against Cincinnati’s revamped secondary.
Justin Jefferson is just 24 years old and now has more career receiving yards than any Chicago Bears receiver in the team's history. All 100+ years of it. twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam)
Sep 15, 2023