The sights and sounds of football was an indulgent nirvana on Sunday as the NFL made a welcome return. As fans kicked back and enjoyed the game, fantasy players frantically checked their phones every 30 seconds to see how their matchup was playing out. At the quarterback position, 10 out of the top 12 scoring quarterbacks were over 85% owned on Yahoo!, with stalwarts Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers leading the way with over 30 fantasy points each.
Our recommended streamers from last week were largely productive – both Gardner Minshew and Kirk Cousins netting owner upwards of 20 fantasy points, with Cousins finishing in the top 10 in QB scoring. Ryan Tannehill and Jimmy Garoppolo narrowly missed that mark scoring 19.36 and 19.26 respectively. Philip Rivers (16.82 points) wasted a number of opportunities in a mediocre outing, whereas Ryan Fitzpatrick (8.44) was a complete bust after throwing three interceptions against the Patriots. The most disappointing was Jared Goff, who limped to a measly 11.50 fantasy points at his new home, SoFi Stadium.
|QB||Matchup||% Owned (Yahoo!)||Fantasy Points|
|Jared Goff, Rams||LAR vs DAL||68%||11.50|
|Gardner Minshew, Jaguars||JAX vs IND||27%||20.82|
|Kirk Cousins, Vikings||MIN vs GB||40%||22.76|
|Derek Carr, Raiders||LV at CAR||18%||13.56|
|Ryan Tannehill, Titans||TEN at DEN||48%||19.36|
|Ryan Fitzpatrick, Dolphins||MIA at NE||4%||8.44|
|Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers||SF vs ARI||51%||19.26|
|Philip Rivers, Colts||IND at JAX||30%||16.82|
Who surprised us? Well, I think Mitch Trubisky surprised all of us. Firstly, he was named the starter ahead of Nick Foles. Secondly, he put in a decent showing against a paltry Detriot Lions defense and scored 24.28 fantasy points by throwing for 242 yards and three passing TDs. This is not the kind of efficiency we are used to from Trubisky, and the jury is still very much out, given the opposition. The Giants and their young defense visit Soldier Field in Week Two so there is potential for a similarly productive outing.
Now, let’s look at the lay of the land for Week Two. Remember, the caveat is that these players are less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues.
|QB||Matchup||% Owned (Yahoo!)||Projected Fantasy Points|
|Daniel Jones, Giants||NYG at CHI||62%||17.35|
|Gardner Minshew, Jaguars||JAC at TEN||26%||18.06|
|Kirk Cousins, Vikings||MIN at IND||34%||16.91|
|Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers||SF at NYJ||52%||17.25|
|Baker Mayfield, Browns||CLE v CIN||57%||17.86|
“Welcome to Best Buy”
Daniel Jones, Giants at Bears
“Danny Dimes” is back with a new Head Coach in Joe Judge. If you take one thing out of Daniel Jones‘ performance on Monday Night Football, it is that his coach is not going to let him keep making mistakes. Judge was visibly animated when the young quarterback made a poor decision on Sunday and that is exactly the kind of coaching he needs to take the next step. So far in his short NFL career, he has shown impressive poise, solid decision making, and flashes of brilliance. He has also made bad mistakes in every outing. Last night was no different as he backed up his 279 yards and two TDs with two INTs – something that has become too character-defining. Still, he scored 19.36 fantasy points.
The Giants go to Soldier Field on Sunday in what is likely to be a free-scoring matchup of two teams with young quarterbacks with a lot to learn. The Bears gave up 288 yards and one TD to Matthew Stafford last week, and it should have been more after De’Andre Swift dropped a game-winning touchdown pass at the end of the game. Darius Slayton has become Jones’ favorite target, notching two TDs and 102 yards receiving in Week One – Slayton goes up against a leaky Bears secondary in a plus matchup. Look for Jones to eclipse 300 yards and 20+ fantasy points this week.
Kirk Cousins, Vikings at Colts
Somehow, Kirk Cousins and the Vikings put up 34 points on Sunday with just 18 minutes and 44 seconds of ball possession. Their secondary was absolutely obliterated by Aaron Rodgers and the Packers wide receiver corps, which led to chunks of garbage time production for Cousins who threw for 259 yards with two TDs and one INT. He also added four rushes for 34 yards. Cousins was noticeably more mobile in the pocket and showed better awareness that will make him more productive in the long run.
It doesn’t really matter who the opponent is at this stage as the Packers exposed the blueprint for beating Minnesota this year – throw at the young, inexperienced secondary. Which in turn means that Cousins is likely going to be either playing catch up in games or going out with a mindset of needing to score a lot of points to compensate for the defense. Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak turned to play action in the second half of the defeat to the Packers and Cousins looked excellent in both his decision-making and execution. Expect another solid outing this week
Gardner Minshew, Jaguars at Titans
The hype is real! For now, anyway. “Minshew Mania” rocked Jacksonville and their socially distanced fans as Garnder Minshew gave a virtuoso performance on Sunday. The Jaguars shocked the Colts, winning 27-20. Minshew threw for just 173 yards but converted three TD passes – one each to Keelan Cole, DJ Chark, and new rookie Laviska Shenault Jr. His performance was so efficient that he only registered one incompletion all afternoon. It was encouraging to see the former Washington State quarterback spread the love across ten different receivers, a surefire indication that this offense is both dynamic and unpredictable.
This week Minshew goes up against a tough Tennesse defense that allowed just 216 passing yards and one TD against Drew Lock and the Broncos. However, Minshew is much more creative and mobile than Lock and could take advantage of a suspect Titans linebacker corps that is often soft in coverage. As his performance against the Colts showed, he does not need volume to be productive. He has the ability to be accurate and avoid turnovers, something that he improved upon in his rookie season. Despite the tough matchup, I have no reservations starting Minshew in all formats this week.
Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers at Jets
Did I call Jimmy Garoppolo boring last week? Probably! And guess what, he was just that. After failing to lead his side down the field to potentially win the Super Bowl, it was a case of déjà vu in Santa Clara against the exciting Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. A litany of poor throws and dump-offs to running backs meant he was productive but also uninspiring. Add to that the injury to George Kittle and this offense suddenly looks very limited indeed. But, they have Kyle Shanahan who always seems to be able to scheme up against opponents and make his dreary quarterback look productive.
And…the Jets are terrible. Blown out 27-17 by Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills on the opening weekend, Greg Williams’ defense looked all over the place, giving up over 300 yards and two TDs in the passing game, and another touchdown rushing. It will be “Same Same But Different” for Jimmy G with their “Next Man Up” philosophy, which doesn’t exactly sound too appealing to watch. However, we are chasing fantasy points and this matchup is just too good to ignore.
“Boom Or Bust”
Baker Mayfield, Browns v Bengals
“Did I even watch Baker Mayfield on Sunday?” is a totally reasonable reaction to seeing his name appear here. Yes, he was terrible. It was an ugly opening for the former Oklahoma quarterback, who never recovered from an early interception on the way to a paltry 189 yards and 53.8% completion percentage – only Tyrod Taylor had lower in Week One. However, he did throw for a touchdown in what was the hardest defensive matchup of any quarterback on opening weekend. Head Coach Kevin Stefanski will have a positive influence on Baker this season, and a bounceback matchup against the Bengals is just what the doctor ordered in Week 2.
Odell Beckham Jr. had just three catches for 22 yards, and newly recruited tight end Austin Hooper was limited to just two catches for 15 yards as the Browns hardly ever sniffed the endzone against the Ravens. That will change this weekend – the Bengals are still a team very much in transition with money unwisely spent in free agency on second-rate veterans to try sure up a leaky secondary. Stefanski will be looking to be much more aggressive in his first home game in Cleveland. On the other hand, the Browns will be the Browns. Baker is the very definition of boom or bust, this weekend.
Don’t hesitate to give me your thoughts and hit me up for questions at @benjaminhaller1.
(Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)