Kickoff: Sunday, September 25th at 1:00 PM ET
Location: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN
Betting Odds: LV -2.5, 45.5 total via Oddsshark
Las Vegas Raiders
Derek Carr (Sit, QB2)
Through two weeks this season, Derek Carr has been just good enough to keep the Raiders within arms reach of their opponents and just bad enough to open the season 0-2. Carr tossed three INTs against the Chargers in Week 1 but the most damaging came just before the end of the first half and led to a TD that ultimately might have been the difference in a five-point loss. Carr protected the ball in Week 2 against the Cardinals but did have the Raiders in a position to win the game. This week, Carr gets the Titans defense that just let Josh Allen carve them up to the tune of 317 yards and four TDs in barely over a half of work. The Titans did keep Daniel Jones in check in Week 1 (188 yards, two TDs, one INT, one fumble lost for Jones) but couldn’t stop Saquon Barkley from shredding them on the ground. The passing game for the Raiders likely falls somewhere between the Giants and Bills, so expect Carr to have a game good enough to consider for your lineups but just bad enough to make you regret starting Carr in traditional one-QB leagues.
Josh Jacobs (Start, RB2), Ameer Abdullah (Sit), Zamir White (Sit), Brandon Bolden (Sit)
Coming into this section, I envisioned Josh Jacobs as a bit of a workhorse RB dominating the backfield and only taking an occasional breather before pounding the defense into submission. I tell you that because I was a bit surprised to see Jacobs has only been on the field for about 66% of the team’s snaps through the first two games. Jacobs is almost a non-factor in the passing game (one target in each game) and is what he is at this point which is a 4.2 yards-per-carry guy. Jacobs has yet to exceed 70 rushing yards in a game this season, but the Titans did surrender a gaudy 164 yards to Barkley in Week 1. Jacobs’ appeal is strictly from a volume standpoint and his value takes a dip in full PPR leagues because of his lack of involvement in that aspect of the offense. The Raiders are favored in this one, which could give Jacobs some extra touches late as the team tries to run out the clock. Look for Jacobs to return RB2 value in Week 3.
Both Ameer Abdullah and Zamir White had preseason buzz about their potential roles in the offense but neither has been able to find the field for much more than 25% of the team’s snaps in either of the first two weeks. Josh McDaniels seems to be using a similar approach to the RB position as fantasy managers suffered through during his time in New England as any RB could be a fantasy darling any week. In fact, Brandon Bolden has been the most productive RB other than Jacobs thanks to a receiving TD in Week 1 and he didn’t play in Week 2 because of a hamstring injury. White has some appeal in dynasty or keeper formats but trying to figure out who the best option of the group will be this season seems fruitless. Keep all other RBs for the Raiders on your bench this week.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Davante Adams (Start, WR1), Hunter Renfrow (Start, WR3/FLEX), Mack Hollins (Sit), Darren Waller (Start, TE1)
If you watched the Titans take on the Bills on Monday night, you saw Stefon Diggs absolutely light them up with 12 receptions for 148 yards and three TDs. Enter Davante Adams. Adams picked up right where he left off in Green Bay in Week 1 as he saw 17 targets in the loss to the Chargers. Adams was less involved in Week 2 (9 targets) but still managed a TD on his two receptions. The numbers look better against the Giants in Week 1 for the Titans, but Daniel Jones only attempted 21 passes because of the success Barkley was having on the ground. The Titans don’t have anybody in the secondary that can match up with Adams and I expect him to see targets closer to his Week 1 totals. Start Adams with confidence this week and enjoy the rewards of his expected WR1 performance.
When opposing defenses make the decision to attempt to take Adams out of the passing game with designed coverages rolled to his side of the field, Carr simply pivots to another dependable weapon in Hunter Renfrow. Renfrow saw 10 targets in Week 2 and converted seven for 59 yards. Renfrow is a dependable target in the intermediate passing game and has shown toughness over the middle. Renfrow did sustain a concussion on the final play of the game in Week 2 in which he fumbled after taking a hard shot and reports are surfacing about a shoulder injury suffered on the same play. As of this writing, his status is uncertain for the team’s Week 3 game but if he is able to suit up look for WR3 or FLEX-level production.
A bit of an unknown heading into this season, Mack Hollins looks like he’s established himself as the third WR for the Raiders after seeing eight targets in Week 2 resulting in five receptions for 66 yards. Hollins had stints with the Eagles and Dolphins before signing with the Raiders this season and had seen a total of 98 targets in his previous four seasons. Hollins should see the most favorable coverages most of the season given the weapons around him in the passing game and he could eventually provide some quality depth and maybe even BYE or injury starting considerations as the season progresses. For now, stash Hollins on your bench if you’ve got room, but hold off on starting him for this week at least.
After three seasons of toiling in mediocrity, Darren Waller broke out in 2019 and has been in the conversation for top TE since. Waller missed a portion of the season last year, including the fantasy playoffs for many, with a knee injury but it’s been the only significant missed time in his career. Waller is third on the team in targets with 14 but is heavily involved in the passing game and is rarely asked to block for designed pass plays. The Titans allowed Dawson Knox to catch four passes on his five targets for 41 yards last week in less than three quarters of football, so expect a similar strong stat line for Waller this week. Plug Waller in as your TE1 for Week 3.
Ryan Tannehill (Sit)
Ryan Tannehill led the Titans to the #1 seed in the AFC last season but looked flustered against the Bills on Monday night. Tannehill looked like he didn’t have a trustworthy option to throw to and didn’t know how to pilot the offense with Derrick Henry struggling to run the ball. Tannehill could only muster 117 passing yards against the Bills and tossed two INTs, one of which was returned for a TD and marked his last pass of the game. The Raiders have struggled to contain both Justin Herbert (279 yards, three TDs) and Kyler Murray (277 yards, one TD, one INT, one rushing TD) this season, but Tannehill doesn’t bring the same upside to the position those two do. Unless Tannehill can prove his struggles are behind him, I simply can’t see how he can be trusted in fantasy lineups. Keep him benched in Week 3.
Derrick Henry (Start, RB2), Dontrell Hilliard (Sit), Hassan Haskins (Sit)
There were concerns heading into fantasy drafts prior to the 2021 season about the workload Derrick Henry had going into that season which caused him to slip in drafts. Henry promptly put up career numbers before suffering a broken foot in Week 8. Henry was back in the mid-first round of most drafts this season, but the start has been vastly different than last year. Henry only has 107 yards through Tennessee’s first two games though he did punch in the team’s only TD last week. The Raiders have been good against opposing RBs this season (186 yards, one TD) though Kyler Murray did have some success against them in Week 2. Henry doesn’t provide much in the passing game, so volume is his calling card when it comes to fantasy football and he’s just not doing enough with his volume to this point. Henry still has an elite RB1 upside but the lack of a true threat in the passing game for Tennessee keeps a bit of a ceiling on Henry. Henry should still be able to produce RB2 numbers this week and should still be started against the Raiders.
Dontrell Hilliard was a hot name following Tennessee’s Week 1 game after he hauled in two receiving TDs but Hilliard missed the Buffalo matchup with a hamstring injury. Rookie Hassan Haskins served as Henry’s primary backup and receiving-down RB in Week 2 but didn’t find the same level of success against the stout Bills’ defense. It’s too early to know if Hilliard will be cleared to play this week, but neither player saw enough significant snaps to warrant serious fantasy consideration. I can’t recommend either player this week given the state of Tennessee’s offense and the uncertainty around their playing time.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Robert Woods (Sit, possible FLEX), Treylon Burks (Sit, possible FLEX), Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (Sit), Kyle Philips (Sit) Austin Hooper (Sit)
It was hard to watch Tannehill Monday night struggle to complete any passes against Buffalo and this week the Titans passing game will have to contend with a Raiders defense that has suffocated opposing WRs allowing just 296 yards and two TDs to the position. I think this might be the last week we consider Robert Woods as the Titans’ #1 WR as Tannehill seemed to prefer Treylon Burks on Monday. Neither player is an exciting option for fantasy managers given the typically run-heavy nature of Tennessee’s offense. Woods has just seven targets in the first two games and has been able to convert just five into receptions for 52 yards. Woods should have the easier one-on-one matchup as Rock Ya-Sin almost exclusively covers the left CB spot and Woods primarily lines up on the right side of the offense. Ya-Sin has a 62.4 coverage rating according to PFF and has shown coverage trouble on deep throws surrendering an average of 14 yards per reception. Still, I don’t think Woods can do enough to climb out of the WR3 or FLEX range of outcomes this week.
Burks, on the other hand, seems to be trending upward for fantasy managers as Tannehill targeted the rookie on six attempts Monday night (team-high) and Burks turned those targets into four receptions for 47 yards. Burks is likely to face off with Nate Hobbs at CB who has been given a coverage rating of 79.7 by PFF. Hobbs does allow a 69.2% completion rate but rarely allows much yardage as he’s surrendered just 56 yards on the season. I’m going to rank Burks close to Woods this week as I think he sees more targets but has a bit of a tougher matchup but I see Burks becoming a trusted fantasy asset in the near future. Treat him as a WR3 or FLEX this week.
Nick Westbrook-Ikhine is the “other” WR for the Titans, but his role is minimal at best. Westbrook-Ikhine has seen six targets on the season but has managed just two receptions for 26 yards on those opportunities. Tannehill and this offense can’t support more than two pass-catching options and Westbrook-Ikhine is the most likely to be the odd man out. Now, if Kyle Philips keeps muffing punts then the team might look to Westbrook-Ikhine more, but there is simply too little volume for Westbrook-Ikhine or Philips to be much use to fantasy managers. Keep them both on your bench for Week 3.
If any pass catcher on the Titans has a favorable matchup this week it’s Austin Hooper. Hooper most likely will see coverage from Divine Deablo who has been brutal in coverage this season. Deablo has a 40.5 coverage rating on PFF and has faced 16 targets on the season. Deablo has allowed 14 completions on those 16 targets for 147 yards and two TDs. Deablo will be tasked with covering Hooper or the RB primarily which could make Hooper a potential option for fantasy managers desperate at the position. Hooper only has two receptions for 25 yards on the season but has shown the traits to be a viable starting TE in the past. I’ve got Hooper outside of my top 15 this week but wouldn’t be surprised to see him get his first TD as a Titan if Tannehill and the offense can move the ball effectively. Keep Hooper on your bench unless you’re in a pinch and need a body.