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Week 3 Starts

Posted: September 22nd 2017   |   Modified: September 22nd 2017

Quarterback

Kirk Cousins- It’s been a struggle so far for the Redskins offense and at times has looked straight up awful. Cousins, who has started slow in the past, looks to still be building chemistry with Terrelle Pryor. The Skins seem to get a home remedy with the Oakland Raiders coming into town on Sunday Night Football. The Raider have allowed the seventh most fantasy points to quarterbacks including a two touchdown zero turnover performance to Josh McCown. This feels like a get right game for the entire Redskins offense, and I believe specifically for Kirk Cousins. Vegas seems to agree as the Redksins have an implied total of 26, one of the highest of the week. Cousins will probably be under owned in daily due to his recent struggles, but Cousins is in a great spot to put up huge numbers.  

 

Wide Receiver

DeAndre Hopkins- Yes, I know the matchup on paper isn’t exactly exciting, and I know Belichick has a history of abusing rookie quarterbacks, but hear me out. If we venture out of the shallows towards the deeper end of the pool, we’ll find that there are several factors working in Hopkins’ favor. First is the Vegas spread. The Patriots are favored by a whopping 15 ½ points, so clearly Vegas expects this game to be a blow out, which means garbage time. By the second half, Houston will be chucking the ball in attempts to catch up, which is great for Hopkins, because he’s literally the only receiver that Houston targets. Hopkins has been targeted a league high 29 times through two games, the rest of the Texans receivers have been targeted six times. Six! As the game becomes more and more out of hand, the Patriots should play more lax on defense especially in the secondary, which should mean easier catches for Nuc.

Another reason Nuc should succeed is that the Patriots pass defense has been terrible. They are bottom three in the league in receptions, receiving yards, yards per catch, touchdowns, and fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers. That’s not good! So while the Patriots should easily handle the Texans, Nuc looks to have a great opportunity to have himself a nice day for fantasy owners.

Devin Funchess- Funchess this week is all about matchup and opportunity, which come to think about, is basically what fantasy football is all about for most players; matchups and opportunities. So, while this holds true for most, I especially LOVE Funchess’ outlook for this week. If you thought the Patriots were bad against wide receivers, meet the one team who is worse; the New Orleans Saints. The Saints are virtually dead last in all major statistical categories against wide receivers, so we need to exploit this matchup, especially with Carolina missing their All Pro Tight End Greg Olsen.

So why Devin Funchess and not Kelvin Benjamin? Surprisingly, for how bad the Saint’s secondary is, they have a pretty good corner in rookie Marshon Lattimore. Lattimore has played very well in coverage and is expected to cover Benjamin for the majority of the game. That leaves Funchess to work against PJ Williams who has been atrocious in coverage (PFF has Williams at a grade of 42.7, and that ain’t good). While, not an elite talent by any stretch of the imagination, Funchess has a mouthwatering matchup to do work against the worse secondary in the league.

Editor’s note-Marshon Lattimore will not play this week due to a concussion.

AJ Green-As it stands, the Cincinnati Bengals are the only team in the NFL without a touchdown, however, I believe their drought ends this week. The Bengals have replaced offensive coordinators mid-week in hopes to kick start their offense. When teams replace offensive coordinators mid-season, usually the offense comes out the next week looking much better, and I expect that to happen for the Bengals.

AJ Green should be the primary benefactor of this. One of the best receivers in the league, Green has been very vocal about the offense and its performance so far, this season, and even going as far as demanding the ball more. Already one of the more targeted receivers in football, look for the Bengals to grant his wish, as Green should see a bevy of balls thrown his way on Sunday.

 

Running Back

Jay Ajayi- It wasn’t a bad 2017 debut for Ajayi, as he ran through and around a pretty good run defense in the LA Chargers. Ajayi was a true work horse back as he was on the field for 94% of the Dolphins snaps, and handled all but one carry. Expect more the same in this week as Ajayi will face off against divisional foe New York Jets. The Jets have been the worse defense against running backs so far this season as the they rank dead last in touchdowns and fantasy points allowed. With the Dolphins a heavy 7-point favorite in this game, the Dolphins should be comfortably ahead come the second half, which is exactly when Ajayi is at his best. He is going to have a huge day.

Theo Riddick- Somewhat of a sleeper pick, but I do believe the stars are aligning for Riddick to have a good fantasy day. So far this year Atlanta has been terrible against the run, especially against pass catching backs. Not only is Atlanta allowing a league worse 5.35 yards per carry, but they have also allowed 18 receptions for 141 yards and two receiving touchdowns to the running backs. It doesn’t take complicated math to realize that Falcons defense is allowing an average stat line of 9/70/1 to opposing running backs.

Also, something to consider, the Falcons-Lions game is projected to be one of the higher scoring affairs come Sunday, with the Falcons being the slight road favorite. This narrative sets up nicely for Riddick, as the Lions are projected to be playing from behind in a projected shoot out. Combine that with the fact the Falcons have had major problems guarding running backs out the back field, Riddick is shaping up to be a great under the radar play, especially in daily formats.

Mike Gillislee- So far, this season, Mike Gillislee has been as advertised. Projected to fill the LeGarrette Blount roll for the Patriots from seasons past, Gillislee is off to a fantastic start, as he has totaled four touchdowns through his first two games. Gillislee is second in the league in red zone carries with eleven, and in the Patriots game against the Texans, odds are that number will rise. With the Patriots favored currently favored by 14 points, the game script should work in Gillislee’s favor. Also worth noting Rex Burkhead will miss Week 3, opening up the possibility that the Patriots may lean on Gillislee a bit more. The Patriots have entrusted Gillislee with not only the red zone work, but as their main running back, Gillislee should see plenty of volume on game day.

Tight Ends

Jack Doyle- There hasn’t been too much to be excited about for the Colt’s offense without Andrew Luck, but with the addition of Jacoby Brissett at quarterback, there at least seems to be hope for Jack Doyle. Last week, Doyle was targeted eight times catching all eight for 79 yards. For the year, Doyle has ten catches for 120 yards, both of which rank top ten among tight ends.

This week he gets the team every tight end dreams about in the Cleveland Browns. The Browns have been terrible at covering tight ends for what seems like years, and through two games the Browns haven’t disappointed, having given up a line of 19/162/2, all of which are worst in the league. They haven’t exactly been facing Gronk or Travis Kelce either. Jesse James scored twice on the Browns in Week 1, and then Ben Watson followed that up with 8 catches for 91 yards in Week 2. With Doyle looking like a go to target for Brissett and with the Browns constantly forgetting to cover tight ends, Doyle should continue the trend of tight ends owning the Browns.

Hunter Henry- After putting up a goose egg in Week 1 against the Broncos, Henry came back with an impressive performance in Week 2 against the Dolphins by catching seven balls for 80 yards on seven targets. Henry looks to be more involved in the offense now that Antonio Gates passed Tony Gonzalez for the most touchdown catches in NFL history. Henry is clearly the more talented player at this point in their respective careers, and now that Gates holds the record, it’s time for the Hunter Henry show.

Henry matches up against the Kansas City Chiefs defense minus Eric Berry. Berry was fantastic in Week 1 by shutting down Rob Gronkowski, unfortunately Berry ruptured his Achilles tendon in that game. Week 2 saw the Chiefs struggle covering Zach Ertz as evidence by Ertz dropping 5 catches for 97 yards. With the Chiefs having their hands full with Keenan Allen and Tyrell Williams on the outside, that should allow the middle of the field to open up for Henry to operate. Have full confidence in starting Hunter Henry this week.

 

 

 

 

 

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