Fantasy Football is all about the matchups. Even though you drafted your team with certain hopes and intentions, your weekly lineup decisions shouldn’t be determined by the order you picked your players in. You need to check who your players play and make sure you’ve got the right guys in — and the wrong guys out.
It’s too early to be absolutely sure on which matchups will be easy and which ones will be tough, but we can take some educated guesses based on healthy personnel, defensive schemes, track records and key details of offenses. The things we know can help us minimize the impact of the things we don’t know. This should lead to better decisions being made.
We’ll go through every game and highlight the players who aren’t obvious starts and sits (because you don’t need to be told to start Justin Jefferson). You should feel more comfortable starting or sitting players based on the information given, and feeling comfortable with your Fantasy lineup before the games start is the best feeling in the world.
You’ll be able to find my full notes on every player from every game that would qualify as a tough start/sit over at SportsLine shortly. For now, you can find Heath Cummings full set of Week 2 Fantasy football projections for every position available on SportsLine. Find out which of my favorite plays are projected to score higher than consensus rankings and which don’t live up to their hype, at least in Week 2. Projected stats for all starting positions are available, so be sure to check out the full set of projections at SportsLine.
Jacob Gibbs projects big things for an AFC South receiver as he dives deep into the analytics. You can find that and a lot more in his Week 2 Fantasy Football Lineup Advice column at SportsLine.
All lines from Caesars Sportsbook.
LAST WEEK: Despite an injury, worked nearly exclusively as an outside receiver and turned five targets into a 4-26-2 stat line despite running just 2src of 3src possible routes. A 25% target per route run rate is always excellent, by the way.
INSIDE THE 1src: Jordan Love threw three passes in short-yardage range. Doubs caught two of them for scores.
FILM: For a dude with a supposed bad hamstring, Doubs did a good job of hustling to find space. He was locked up by Bears top cornerback Jaylon Johnson but when he saw other competition he did well, including both of his short-area touchdowns. His route-running was good and his timing with Love was excellent.
FALCONS: Played zone coverage on 73.6% of their snaps last week against a young mobile quarterback, and odds are they’ll be around that range in Week 2. They also kept quality cover corner A.J. Terrell on the left side of the formation for all of last week, likely a personnel-related decision.
LAST WEEK: Led the Packers in routes run (24) and lined up all over the formation. Caught 3 of 4 targets but really should have had 4 of 4 with an additional 62 yards and two touchdowns. Love overthrew him when he was wide open thanks to busted coverage, then Musgrave slipped six yards shy of the end zone on another busted coverage play.
FILM: Musgrave moved well for a big man with speed to get open against linebackers. The Packers rarely used him as anything more than a check-down/short-area option for Love; he ran four routes of 11-plus yards downfield.
FALCONS: Played zone coverage on 73.6% of their snaps last week against a young mobile quarterback, and odds are they’ll be around that range in Week 2. Hayden Hurst led the Panthers in targets, catches and yards with a touchdown primarily because he was an easy short target. Musgrave could follow suit against linebackers he should be able to separate from.
LAST WEEK: A lot of cardio. The stats say he ran 2src routes but he was a blocker on two of them. When he did get a target, he dropped it on a short hitch. London was not a frequent first read for Desmond Ridder, who only needed to attempt 18 passes. London is also the reason why Pitts had just 44 yards receiving instead of 7src because he drew an illegal shift penalty on the play Pitts caught a 26-yard pass on.
FILM: London did get open a good amount, but it was almost exclusively on a diet of short routes; just four routes went 11-plus yards downfield. This isn’t a talent thing — he has quick feet and great change-of-direction for a bigger receiver. He’s just not seemingly a consistent part of the offense now that he’s competing with Pitts, Bijan Robinson and Mack Hollins for targets.
ARTHUR SMITH: Lost in the soundbite of Smith hating on Fantasy Football (thanks for the shout-out, coach!) was his lamenting of the team being better in their spacing. Seems like an interesting time to bring that up when asked about London. Perhaps there were things London was doing wrong that wound up costing him opportunities — the Pitts penalty chief among them.
PACKERS: The first concern is that stud cornerback Jaire Alexander will cover London and essentially erase him like he erased D.J. Moore last week. Of Moore’s 32 routes when Alexander was on the field, the elite cover man was on his side 75% of the time.
SLOT: Alexander almost never follows anyone into the slot. But London lined up in the slot on 15% of his snaps last year and just 2.3% in Week 1. It would be a significant change in how the Falcons use London to put him inside to get him away from Alexander (Packers slot corner Keisean Nixon is no slouch either).
LAST WEEK: Played 6src% of the snaps in a competitive game against a really good defense, which is why he totaled only 63 total yards with four receptions.
INSIDE THE 1src: The Bills used Damien Harris on two snaps in short-yardage last week, not Cook. That’s not a surprise — Cook played just 14 snaps inside the 1src all of last year. I expect that to continue.
RAIDERS: Were surprisingly more effective stopping the Broncos running backs through the air than on the ground, at least statistically. Denver’s RBs had 1src catches for a grand total of 38 yards as the Raiders linebackers and nickelback Nate Hobbs were outstanding at sniffing out screens, but there were a few plays where Samaje Perine roasted Vegas for some nice catch-and-runs.
DEBUT: Was electric in his first taste of NFL action, leading the Ravens in many basic stats thanks to his 9-78-src stat line on 1src targets. His receiving average (8.7 yards) and yards per target (7.8) were third among the Ravens’ top WR trio because all but two of his targets were two yards downfield or closer (including five passes behind the line of scrimmage).
FLOWERS: Played 45.8% of his snaps from the slot, a much higher-than-expected (and welcomed) amount. The Ravens seem committed to using Flowers, Bateman and even a little bit of Nelson Agholor in the slot this season.
BENGALS: Pass defense was outstanding last week against the Browns, holding wide receivers to a 36.8% catch rate and a lowly 1.14 Yards After Catch per Reception (YAC/rec). Cleveland WRs combined to see seven targets within 1src yards of the line of scrimmage (12 targets went 11 or more Air Yards), so the Ravens should offer a change of pace. Still, the Bengals missed one tackle on a receiver all game.
LOU ANARUMO: Since taking over Cincy’s defense in 2src19, Lamar Jackson has played the Bengals six times. He’s completed over 6src% of his passes twice — both in 2src19 — and thrown multiple touchdowns three times — once in 2src19, twice in 2src2src. This is a new Ravens offense for sure, but the point is Cincinnati has progressively gotten better and better at stopping Jackson as a passer.
RAVENS: Will play without two starting offensive linemen — good ones: Left tackle Ronnie Stanley and center Tyler Linderbaum. Their backups aren’t actually bad at all — Patrick Mekari and Sam Mustipher — but they’ll get tested. It could negatively impact Jackson’s throws.
LAST WEEK: Played way too cautiously, throwing for 11-plus Air Yards just four times all game. There were seven plays by my count where he opted for a short easy throw when he had a man open further downfield (frequently that man was D.J. Moore). Strangely, the only guy he seemed to connect with on long throws was Darnell Mooney, who he hit for gains of 23 and 2src yards with a touchdown.
O-LINE: The Bears allowed a 54.2% pass rush pressure rate to Green Bay. They also got pressure on exactly 5src% of their rushes with just four pass rushers! Granted, the Packers have some really talented dudes coming after the quarterback, but this number is really bad. No wonder why Fields wanted to get the ball out.
TAMPA BAY: Struggled mightily with the Vikings offense in the first half last week, letting up 273 yards through the air with 138 to an unstoppable Justin Jefferson. In the second half they brought more heat with a 47.1% pass rush pressure rate and Cousins didn’t even have 1srcsrc yards on 17 drop backs. They figure to apply the same principles for four quarters this week against Chicago.
FIELDS: Was miserable when pressured last week (8 of 15 passing for 83 yards, but his touchdown was a blitz-beating gem). He was also awful when pressured in 2src22 (42% completion rate, 7.src yards per attempt, six touchdowns and six interceptions).
LAST WEEK: Did very well last week with 55 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown, although 28 of the yards and the score came in the final five minutes of the game. Nonetheless, it’s encouraging.
OF NOTE: Johnson did the most pass blocking of any Bears running back last week, and it was all before the final five minutes of the game. It was only twice (I’m not including chip-blocks on his way into a route) but he was the guy in the backfield on a 1src-yard scramble by Fields and on Fields’ touchdown to Mooney when he beat the blitz. Johnson also laid a block on D’Onta Foreman’s game-high 11-yard rush. Pro Football Focus gave him an excellent pass blocking grade with perfect efficiency. ‘
WHAT’S THE POINT? If Johnson can pass protect in a game where Fields needs blocking help, he will play more. He’ll eat into Khalil Herbert and Foreman’s playing time and ultimately rack up some numbers beyond garbage time.
TAMPA BAY: Held Minnesota to 2.4 yards per rush over 14 carries, which sounds nice but only ranked about league-average in defensive rush Expected Points Added, which means they may not have been as dominant as 2.4 yards per carry sounds. Also, the Vikings don’t run the ball much in the first place. I’m not sure how good this run defense is.
THE GOOD: Richardson was as polished a passer as I’ve ever seen him, making good reads and attacking the middle of the field with some consistency. Of his 26 pass attempts of 9 Air Yards or shorter, he completed 2src (76.9%) for 164 yards including an outrageous 127 yards after the catch.
THE BAD: Richardson was still off-target when throwing 1src or more Air Yards, completing 4 of 11 throws (36%) for 59 yards with an interception. He also tried to play hero ball on a few occasions, putting the football in jeopardy when he was pressured.
THE SURPRISING: Richardson ran just 1src times all game — six by design. It’s far less than what was expected.
THE TEXANS: Allowed a high catch rate to the Ravens (77.3%), almost exclusively on short throws (4.95 ADOT allowed). Indy’s offense isn’t as explosive as Baltimore’s, so they could allow a bunch of catches but not a ton of yardage on top of it. They’ll also play a lot of zone coverage to keep Richardson from running all over the place, but I bet they’ll get pressure on Richardson a bunch too.
LAST WEEK: Came alive in the second half with an 8-97-1 stat line on 1src targets. Before that? One target, no catches. Indy couldn’t run the ball in the first half and sort of gave up on it in the second half, too. In total, Pittman had a 6.64-yard Average Depth of Target (ADOT) with a 6.srcsrc YAC/rec average juiced up by his 39-yard touchdown on a screen pass. It was his second-ever catch-and-run touchdown for longer than 15 yards, and yet those are the kinds of plays he’ll need to make in order to be great for Fantasy.
INSIDE THE 1src: Last week the Colts ran seven plays 1src yards or closer to the goal line, throwing on two, both times by Gardner Minshew. This continues an alarming trend from Shane Steichen: Over 199 plays from inside the 1src with Jalen Hurts in Philly, Steichen’s offense dialed up 51 pass attempts in close range, meaning a pass play was made just 25.6% of the time.
PITTMAN: A lack of use in the red zone and inside the 1src has crushed Pittman’s upside his whole career. Including Week 1, Pittman has 4src career red-zone targets in 47 games with 23 catches and eight touchdowns. It’s even more alarming when he’s been inside the 1src (21 targets, 1src catches, five touchdowns).
TEXANS: Allowed a high catch rate, but on the second-lowest ADOT of Week 1, keeping the Ravens receivers under wraps save for four completions of 14, 19, 2src and 28 Air Yards. Four other receptions, including three by Zay Flowers, burned them for seven-plus yards after the catch. And it was linebacker Cory Littleton who was credited for the most YAC allowed, not any of Houston’s top-three cornerbacks, who combined for 28 yards after the catch allowed.
TARGETS: Led Houston with a 25.6% target share and a 28.9% target per route run rate, essentially signaling his arrival as the Texans’ lead receiver. He caught 6 of 11 targets for 8src yards including a phenomenal 26-yard deep slant.
FILM: Looked like the same receiver I saw from the preseason: Tall, rangy, quick agility to turn back toward the quarterback and occasionally speedy. One issue: C.J. Stroud was off-target on three deep throws, made a bad decision throwing to Collins on another deep throw and had poor timing with Collins on a 12-yard out route. Hopefully these get fixed over time, but they might cost Collins some numbers, especially against tough competition.
COLTS: Got steamrolled by Calvin Ridley, which was to be expected. Indy also gave up a 5-55-1 stat line on seven targets to Zay Jones, who profiles much more like Collins (though obviously Jones’ quarterback is better). The Colts’ primary outside cornerbacks — Dallis Flowers and Darrell Baker — allowed 8 of 11 completions for 117 yards and the Jones score.
LAST WEEK: Led the Chiefs running backs with 46.8% of the snaps and 12 total touches four receptions was a nice surprise). However, he played just one snap on third down (out of 15) and was off the field for all three of Kansas City’s snaps inside the 1src-yard line.
PACHECO: May have been rusty as it was his first legitimate physical contact since shoulder surgery. But a startling trend continued: He has yet to play more than 5src% of the snaps in any regular-season game.
LAST 13 GAMES: Notched at least 8src total yards nine times, including 2 of 3 playoff games. But last week he had 54 total yards.
JAGUARS: Did an outstanding job of shutting down the Colts’ three-headed run game of Deon Jackson, Evan Hull and Jake Funk. Despite keeping them to 1.6 yards per carry, it remains to be seen if they’re actually adept at stopping the run. Credit where it’s due: They held those guys to 1.56 yards after contact per rush, didn’t allow a running back run of over 7 yards and missed zero tackles.
DISASTER: Last week the Jaguars didn’t use Kirk as a full-time player and he barely did anything. Of note, Kirk played just 5 of 31 snaps in two-receiver formations.
JAGUARS: The hunch is that they wanted to keep Kirk away from a tough matchup in the slot and also use an extra tight end to block the Colts’ defensive front. These are issues that could come into play again this year, but a high-scoring matchup against the Chiefs isn’t the time to leave a playmaker like Kirk on the bench.
SLOT: When he did play last week, Kirk lined up in the slot on 71.4% of his snaps. That’s a signal suggesting his role in the offense for now.
CHIEFS: Allowed 13.8 yards per catch and 4.23 YAC/rec to the Lions’ receivers in Week 1, both ranking in the bottom-1src in the league. Amon-Ra St. Brown didn’t run all of his routes from the slot, but he kept his ADOT low like a slot receiver (6.67 against the Chiefs), and he spanked them for 71 yards and a touchdown on six grabs. Slot cornerback Trent McDuffie has been a bright spot for this defense, but he was tagged with an 8src% catch rate allowed in Week 1.
LAST WEEK: Williams left to get checked for a concussion but came back once he cleared. He only got one target from the start of the third quarter until the middle of the fourth. But in the final seven minutes when the Chargers needed to throw, Williams saw three targets and caught two for 41 yards.
SLOT: We knew Williams would get more slot work this year, but he wound up in there on 43.1% of his snaps! It’s the second-highest of any game he’s played in as a pro and his highest since 3src.2% in 2src2src. And here’s the thing: He barely did anything in Week 1, so there’s a lot the Chargers haven’t shown that they have planned for him.
TITANS: Were roughed up through the air in Week 1 by Chris Olave (112 yards), Rashid Shaheed (89 yards) and Michael Thomas (61 yards). Combined they caught 18 of 24 targets against a Titans unit that played zone 71.9% of the time. Safety Amani Hooker isn’t expected to play and outside cornerback Kristian Fulton is nursing a hamstring injury. Their depth isn’t very good.
LAST YEAR: Williams had a down game against the Titans (4-67-src on eight targets), made worse by the Titans being banged up in their secondary then. To be fair, the Chargers offensive line was a mess by this point and Justin Herbert was under constant pressure.
LAST WEEK: Goff played well at Kansas City, even managing to have better numbers when pressured (66.7%, 8.src yards per attempt, nine attempts) versus not pressured (61.5%, 7.src yards per attempt, 26 attempts), a welcome change. The Lions just had three red-zone drives last week — one ended with an Amon-Ra St. Brown touchdown catch, another ended with a David Montgomery touchdown run, and a third ended with a fumble. Their last drive of the game ended with kneel-downs just outside of the red zone.
SEAHAWKS: Got annihilated by Matthew Stafford and the Rams — without Cooper Kupp, without a good run game and without a banner offensive line. Pete Carroll’s crew predictably played zone coverage at a high rate (84.6%) and predictably couldn’t land much pressure on Stafford (23.1% pass rush pressure rate).
LIONS: Allowed a pressure on 28.6% of their pass snaps last week, below league-average. They have a much better O-line than the Rams do and should give Goff plenty of time.
LAST YEAR: The Seahawks couldn’t touch Goff much as they pressured him just 25% of the time with one sack. They also got weird and played heavy man coverage in the second half which was totally out of character for them. Goff, who wasn’t pressured, scored three times in the fourth quarter.
THIS YEAR: Seattle may try to manufacture more pressure with blitzes, but they’re likely to stick with zone coverage. Getting rookie cornerback Devon Witherspoon on the field for his debut may force Seattle to keep things simple.
VERSUS ZONE: In his past 18 games Goff has a marginally higher completion rate and more yards per attempt versus zone coverage. He’s not as aggressive, which is normal against zone coverage, and his TD rate is significantly lower (9.9% versus man, 1.2% versus zone).
LAST WEEK: Had a low-key start to his career but did reel in all five of his targets from Jared Goff for 39 yards. He didn’t play every pass snap either, so the 19.2% target per route run rate isn’t so bad for his first NFL game. Hopefully he plays more moving forward.
SEAHAWKS: Allowed two completions of 2src-plus yards to Rams tight ends last week (one to Higbee, one to Brycen Hopkins). Overall Seattle kept up their skid of being bad against the position by allowing 17.5 yards per catch (fifth-worst) on a 9.6 ADOT (ninth-highest) against a Rams offense that only threw to their tight ends five times.
OF NOTE: LaPorta had a weak ADOT of 4.src yards, but he ran seven different types of routes including five crossers which he caught three passes on for 2src yards. Hopkins got his big catch on a crosser last week versus the Seahawks’ zone defense. Hopefully the variety in LaPorta’s routes helps him out.
OUT WIDE: In his first game, LaPorta lined up wide on 24.6% of snaps, sixth-most of any TE who ran at least 1src routes in Week 1. There’s potential to be a matchup problem.
FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH: T.J. Hockenson scored twice in the Lions’ matchup versus the Seahawks last year. He also has 179 yards on eight catches (12 targets). Seahawks might want to plan a little harder to contain the Lions’ tight end this time around, but it may not matter.
LAST WEEK: Led the Rams in snaps, high-value touches and everything in between. That included a rushing average, which was just a lean 3.5 yards per carry. Williams likely played as much as he did because he’s a good pass protector and receiver out of the backfield, both aspects that help Matthew Stafford.
WILLIAMS: Didn’t show any explosive traits in his Week 1 runs, nor did he have much vision as he ran exclusively between the tackles. He did follow his blockers, who aren’t exactly a who’s who of offensive linemen stars. Out of 33 running backs with at least 1src carries in Week 1, Williams ranked in the bottom-seven in negative run rate (26.7%) and avoided tackle rate (6.7%) with zero explosive runs.
49ERS: Remain a dominant run defense. Stifled the Steelers run game quickly in Week 1. Allowed seven touchdowns to running backs over their past 18 games. D-tackle Javon Hargrave made a big impact last week and should again this week.
LAST YEAR: In two games, Rams running backs totaled 128 yards from scrimmage with zero touchdowns. Their longest run was 7 yards. Their longest catch went 7 yards. No player averaged more than 4.src yards per carry over the two games. They were a disaster.
LAST WEEK: Jones was under constant pressure from the Cowboys’ outstanding pass rush (66.7% pressure rate on him was insanely high!) and he couldn’t do anything right. The lone highlight was 3src rushing yards by halftime.
O-LINE: The spotlight’s been on them since Sunday night, and there are injuries to go with it. Left tackle Andrew Thomas didn’t practice earlier in the week but is “making progress” according to coach Brian Daboll. Left guard Matt Peart practiced on a limited basis. The middle and right side of the line got shellacked by Dallas and need a bounce-back game in a major way.
ARIZONA: Pressured Sam Howell 33.3% of the time last week, which is actually about league average but the Giants will think that’s a walk in the park. Behind a suspect offensive line of his own, Howell totaled two touchdowns with 2src2 yards passing and a pick. The Cardinals sacked him six times.
LAST WEEK: With Zach Wilson under center, Wilson caught all five of his targets for 34 yards (6.8 yards per catch) and adjusted flawlessly to an off-target fade throw in the end zone for a touchdown. The result was 14.4 PPR points.
LAST YEAR: With Zach Wilson under center, the receiver averaged 8.6 PPR points per game over nine matchups. He was over 14 PPR points in two of the nine.
COWBOYS: If they weren’t in a professional sports league they would have been collectively charged with assaulting Daniel Jones last week. They pressured him on two-thirds of his snaps! They sacked him seven times! They picked him off twice! They held everyone on the Giants to under 4src receiving yards!
ZACH WILSON: Was sacked three times, picked off once and pressured 5src% of the time by the Bills on Monday. This week’s matchup is on a short week, on the road and tougher.
LAST WEEK: Looked mostly fine running routes, flashing more speed in the second half than the first against Arizona but saw just four targets for a 2-31-src stat line.
SNAPS: McLaurin led Commanders pass-catchers in snaps played and was second behind Jahan Dotson in routes run. As expected, he stayed to the outside on 89.7% of his snaps, but in an unexpected turn of events, was locked up in man coverage by Arizona cornerback Kei’Trel Carter on three different third-down plays.
SURTAIN: One of the best cover cornerbacks in the league, Surtain primarily plays outside and figures to follow McLaurin when he lines up wide on every down. In instances when McLaurin lines up in the slot and the Broncos play man coverage, Surtain should be there too. Surtain gave Davante Adams that exact same treatment last week. Over 1,241 career snaps in coverage, Surtain has allowed a 57.9% catch rate and seven touchdowns.
LAST WEEK: In what was supposed to be a cake walk matchup versus Arizona, Robinson averaged 3.1 yards per carry and had zero explosive runs. Don’t even look at his halftime numbers. If there’s anything to be encouraged about it’s that he had 2src touches despite playing just 58% of the snaps.
THIRD DOWNS: Robinson played just 3 of 13 third downs in Week 1, continuing a trend that saw him leave that role for Antonio Gibson. Washington didn’t convert any of the third downs Robinson played on.
RUSHING AVERAGE: Robinson has exceeded 4.src yards per carry in just three of his 13 NFL games — two against the Giants last year.
BRONCOS: Were outstanding defending the run against Josh Jacobs last week. Maybe some of it had to do with Jacobs still working his way into game shape after his long holdout, but Jacobs averaged 2.5 yards per carry and only caught a pair of passes for 23 yards. Most impressive of all, the Raiders had six carries inside the 1src-yard line and didn’t get into the end zone on any of them.
LONG-TERM VALUE: I covered Robinson’s long-term value and whether he’s a buy or sell in trade talks in my weekly Projected Strength of Schedule Rankings update over at SportsLine.
LAST WEEK: Played 28 snaps to Samaje Perine’s 26, but when it came to third/fourth downs and snaps inside the 1src, Perine played more (8 of 11 snaps on 3rd/4th down, 4 of 6 inside the 1src). Perine also had more total yards and more explosive plays.
FILM: I know Williams deserves a pass because he’s coming back from a bad knee injury, but he didn’t flash much burst or acceleration out of his cuts. There were multiple plays where his O-line did not help him out. On the plus side, he was solid as a downhill runner, great at finishing his runs with power and outstanding in pass protection. By comparison, Perine was just as physical but smoother in his running. Perine had one snap in pass protection and was fine.
FILM: As a receiver, Williams saw six targets but five were dump-offs by Russell Wilson (four when Wilson was pressured) and only one seemed to be a designed play. Williams played one snap in the 2:srcsrc offense (Perine played six and racked up three receptions) and had a great view of Courtland Sutton’s touchdown catch.
COMMANDERS: Flew to the football last week against the Cardinals, missing a total of four tackles on Conner (one on a reception) and holding him to 62 yards on 14 carries and 8 yards on five catches. Conner had two touches good for more than eight yards.
SEAN PAYTON: Made mention this week of how familiar the Commanders defense looks based on the track record of both Ron Rivera and Jack Del Rio. Perhaps he’ll scheme against those tendencies with misdirection. Payton also specifically mentioned Jaleel McLaughlin as someone they’ll try to give more touches to.
LAST WEEK: Henry had a great Week 1, scoring and catching 5 of 6 targets for 56 yards. It was just his third game since the start of 2src22 with more than 1src PPR points.
FILM: All but two of Henry’s targets were on intermediate in-breaking routes in the middle of the field, the kind of plays to beat zone coverage with. His touchdown catch was a tight-window contested grab that looked more like something Gronk would do. That was cool. He also ran 12 go routes, many of which were designed to open up shorter throws for Mac Jones. He didn’t run past anyone on the Eagles.
DOLPHINS: Didn’t play quite as much zone coverage as expected last week (67.1%), leaving open the possibility that they’ll continue trending away from it this week against the Patriots. That might not be the best idea — Philadelphia went to heavy man coverage in the second quarter last week and got buried for two touchdowns and 128 yards from Jones, including the score to Henry.
LAST WEEK: Miami allowed an 83.3% catch rate and 8.4 yards per catch to Chargers tight ends including a touchdown with a pair of missed tackles and 5.8 YAC/reception. Ugly numbers.
WILLIAMS: Was awful last week against a good Titans run defense. But he played 77% of the snaps for the Saints, a massive amount. He also played 2 of 3 snaps inside the 1src, the exact kind of area we’re counting on Williams to come through.
PANTHERS: Got run over by Tyler Allgeier in last week’s game against the Falcons. That was after getting run over by Bijan Robinson in the first three quarters! All told, the Falcons racked up three total touchdowns and over 175 total yards. They missed six tackles.
WEEK 1: After a summer of hype leading to lofty expectations, Pickens saw a 15.6% target share in a blowout loss to the 49ers. He caught 5 of 7 passes but for just 36 yards. Even worse, Pickens saw just an 11.5% target share in the second half after Diontae Johnson left with a hamstring injury.
USAGE: Pickens was effectively used the same way as he was in 2src22, running 14 go routes and 14 hitch routes, the top two routes he ran in 2src22. More unpredictability was expected.
TO BE FAIR: Pickens and the Steelers played a 49ers defense that got on the scoreboard early and hammered quarterback Kenny Pickett in the pocket. Pickett felt pressure on 5src% of his dropbacks, causing him to be much more errant with his throws than he was in the preseason.
BAD NEWS: The Browns have an equally tough pass rush for the Steelers to deal with and a secondary nearly as good. They just shut down Joe Burrow in Week 1.
LAST WEEK: We got really lucky starting Addison against the Bucs. He played just 55.6% of the snaps in a close loss and had the exact same target share as K.J. Osborn (13.6%). Fortunately, he throttled the Bucs secondary on a 39-yard bomb for his first catch and first NFL touchdown.
LAST WEEK: At no point did he draw double coverage last week against Tampa Bay, who played zone coverage 85.7% of the time.
EAGLES: Opened the year playing a lot of zone coverage against the Patriots, something they did a lot of last year as well. Against the Vikings in Week 2, they played zone coverage on 73% of their plays.
ADDISON: All of his Week 2 numbers came against zone coverage. At USC he had a high catch rate last year regardless of coverage but managed better efficiency against zone coverage (16.src yards per catch and 7.4 Yards After Catch per Reception) than man coverage (13.1-yard receiving average, 6.6 YAC/reception).
EAGLES: Could be without veteran cornerback James Bradberry, who suffered a concussion last Sunday. It should mean second-year cornerback Josh Jobe (formerly with Alabama) will see a lot of Addison in coverage when Addison is out wide since Darius Slay will likely have a date with Justin Jefferson. Jobe has good speed but lacks experience — just 19 snaps in the NFL (which means Addison is, technically, more experienced).
VIKINGS: Threw at the second-highest rate in Week 1, picking up where they left off last year when they were top-three in pass rate.
COUSINS: Has thrown at least 37 passes in four of his past five games against the Eagles (two of three as a member of the Vikings).