5th Down’s Matt New weighs in with his unique take on who he’s high on and who might be better sitting this week out from a fantasy perspective.
Now that we have two weeks under our belt there are some sticky stats in the NFL. We know that quarterbacks versus the Philadelphia Eagles and the Cincinnati Bengals look like choice matchups, that you don’t want to play running backs against the Dallas Cowboys or the Tennessee Titans, and for some with their bend-don’t-break defense, your kicker will score a lot of points against the New Orleans Saints.
It’s also helpful when trends of the first two weeks of the season correlate with data from past seasons. Take the Los Angeles Charges and their EPA against deep passes (passes of 20+ yards). They are currently dead last this year against the go-route. They were 29th in the last two years, and they cannot seem to find a solution to this problem. They went out and spent money on the secondary, Derwin James has surprisingly been healthy, and they’re playing more cover-6, which means a bevy of defensive backs and safeties to cover the field. And yet they’re still getting gashed.
This week they’re playing the Minnesota Vikings in the week’s highest over/under. Justin Jefferson is a must-start, but so is Jordan Addison. His snap counts are going up, but even when he’s playing a smaller amount than K.J. Osborn he’s been more beneficial for fantasy purposes. He’s had at least 60 yards and a touchdown in his first two games, and that’s impressive considering he’s a rookie. Consider that his floor in this week’s match-up against the Bolts.
Speaking of teams that love to give points to wide receivers, consider the Indianapolis Colts, who love nothing more than to let perimeter receivers run free. This makes sense. Remember when Isaiah Rodgers was suspended indefinitely by the NFL for violating the league’s gambling policy in the summer? Remember wondering who the heck Isaiah Rodgers was? Well, he was their starting defensive back on a secondary without much talent, and it has shown in the first two weeks.
As of two weeks, the Colts have given up 53.1 PPR points to receivers, and given how solid they are against the run don’t expect that to change this week against the Ravens. OBJ has been ruled out, Rashod Bateman is still coming back from his Lisfranc injury, so you can start both Zay Flowers and even Nelson Agholor with confidence. Lamar Jackson’s passing more in this offense, and this is a great match-up for his pass catchers to take advantage of.
Finally, this is a week you’re going to need to bench Trevor Lawrence. His track record against the Houston Texans has not been great, and I am a believer in these inter-division rivalries in which one team just owns another. Consider the 49ers and the Rams, the Raiders and the Broncos, the Patriots and the Jets.
This isn’t saying that it’s impossible for Lawrence to have a great game against the Texans, it’s just that history begs to differ. So far in his career, Lawrence is 1-3 against the Texans, and that one win was when the Jaguars ran the ball down the Texans’ throats, which is really what every team should be doing to them. In that game, he finished with 5.50 fantasy points. Yikes.
This would be a week for Lawrence owners to strongly consider streaming the QB position. Matthew Stafford, Kenny Pickett, and Baker Mayfield have plus matchups, something’s brewing in Washington where Sam Howell could have a breakout game, and CJ Stroud has a good matchup on the other side of the ball, and was 3rd amongst all quarterbacks last week in pass plays. Lawrence will be back, but for some reason, the Texans have his number.