An incredible NFL Week 2 has my head spinning. Despite Baltimore getting some starters back, their defensive woes have continued in 2022; long live the Bills! In an epic defensive meltdown, or perhaps a Dolphins offensive masterpiece, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw for more than 400 yards and 6 touchdowns. Incredible.
Tagovailoa and his dynamic wide receiver duo of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle were must-haves in DFS tournaments. Ravens wide receiver Rashod Bateman and tight end Mark Andrews were also smash plays (along with Lamar Jackson). The power of double-stacking receivers with your quarterback and running it back with one (or two) opponent pass-catchers was abundantly clear.
Week 3 Preview
Speaking of dominant offenses, the Bills dispatched the reigning Super Bowl champion Rams and the reigning AFC No. 1 seed Titans in consecutive weeks. They have done so in epic fashion, allowing a single touchdown to each team while outscoring them 72-17. I think it would take a multi-week injury to Josh Allen for this team to miss out on the top seed in their conference. A juicy matchup with the also-undefeated Dolphins headlines the Week 3 slate.
The Jets are “wacko for Flacco” now that they pulled off their own unbelievable comeback against the Browns. The Raiders couldn’t hold on after crushing the Cardinals for 3+ quarters, and Davante Adams had a massively disappointing 2 receptions on 7 targets with a touchdown. It’s Jimmy Garoppolo time, again, in San Francisco. I also forgot “Kirk Cousins in Primetime” is an auto-fade. Of course, no matter who you root for, we are also all Lions fans this year.
If you avoided the Dolphins, Lions or Nick Chubb in Week 2, not to worry. If you deleteriously took some home teams against the spread (like me), there is good news. The Watchman has an amazing stat to share about Week 3.
Week 3 Stat of the Week
- During the past five seasons, there have been 38 Week 3 non-divisional games featuring a 2-0 team. Those teams are 22-16 (57.9%) straight up, but here is the awesome thing. The “over” on the point total is 25-13 (65.8%), by an average margin of 3.47 points.
I looked further into the data. Four of 13 games that went under the total were only a field goal or less away from going over. However, 16 of the 25 overs were by more than one touchdown.
Unfortunately, the Bills, Dolphins, Giants and Eagles are in divisional matchups this week, so they do not qualify. Yet, we have two main-slate games with a 2-0 team playing: Chiefs-Colts and Packers-Buccaneers. That’s a total of nine NFL MVP awards among these four quarterbacks.
Having absorbed this information, how could we be thinking about the betting, fantasy, and DFS implications?
The Buccaneers finally figured out the Saints last week. Can Aaron Rodgers and his Packers finally figure out Tom Brady and the Bucs? Rodgers is 1-2 all-time vs. Brady and 0-1 vs. Brady as a Buccaneer. The over is 0-3 in these matchups, and both teams are dealing with injuries.
This one is tough. The strength of our overall trend would propel us toward a successful bet, but it would be upstream against the strong current of this specific trend. Yet, within the framework of our stat, the over hits 75% of the time when the total is 43 points or fewer. This game’s total currently sits at 41.5.
The Chiefs-Colts game will also be played under inauspicious circumstances. The Colts are still winless after getting shut out by the Jaguars. The Colts come home with their season on the line but might get back wide receiver Michael Pittman, which can help them keep pace with the powerful Chiefs offense. My interest is piqued in a game where the Chiefs could surpass the current total of 49.5 on their own. What are seven touchdowns for Patrick Mahomes?
Aaron Jones could be worth a start against the stingy Buccaneers’ run defense due to his pass-catching prowess, but I would definitely keep Rodgers and Lazard in my lineups. If you are desperate for a flex, then tight end Robert Tonyan, running back AJ Dillon and wide receiver Christian Watson would be acceptable dart throws. Brady will be without wide receivers Mike Evans, due to a suspension, and Chris Godwin due to injury, but Julio Jones could be back. Jones and Fournette are certainly worth starting.
Looking at the Chiefs-Colts, you should play all the Chiefs’ starters. That much is obvious. Mahomes could pass for 500 yards and 7 touchdowns, and you wouldn’t blink an eye. Clyde Edwards-Helaire looks healthy, and so does his workload. Even if the Colts remain mostly stagnant, they will concentrate opportunities on Jonathan Taylor and Michael Pittman (if healthy).
The waiver wire beckons you! QB-needy teams can look to Jimmy Garoppolo. As previously mentioned, Russell Gage could be in line for some volume. Can Flacco do it again? J.D. McKissic could be called upon against the Eagles. Raheem Mostert got a starter’s share of work last week. Darrel Williams is worth a look behind oft-injured James Conner, as well.
His combination of backfield dominance, high-value touches and offensive philosophy makes me believe Leonard Fournette ($6500) is a smash play at RB this week. Coming home off of a down game against an excellent run defense, he now gets to face a Packers team that just allowed David Montgomery to shred them for 122 yards on just 15 carries (8.1 YPC).
Brady ($6000) is only the 13th-most expensive QB available and could make for a lower-owned contrarian play (who is he throwing to?). If Julio Jones ($5600) suits up, then he could dominate targets, but I like under-the-radar Russell Gage ($4700) as a budget-relaxing play.
On the other side, Jones ($7400) runs hot and cold. While he was pretty hot last week, the Buccaneers’ run defense is serious. Allen Lazard ($6000) is a nice mid-range WR option to pair with Rodgers ($6400). Other receiving options include Sammy Watkins ($4400), Romeo Doubs (3800), Watson ($3600) and Tonyan ($3700).
On the Chiefs, you can pick any three and plan on an eruption game. Mahomes ($7900) might be a bit chalky this week. Edwards-Helaire ($6300) is a decent play. Mahomes spreads the ball around to his WRs and TEs, meaning it’s anyone’s guess as to who will produce weekly outside of Travis Kelce ($7900). WRs JuJu Smith-Schuster ($5500), Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($4700) and Mecole Hardman ($4600) are all priced for the uncertainty of their target loads.
The Colts are a bit more defined. Jonathan Taylor ($9000) is priced as the slate’s most expensive RB, but he does see a massive workload. Pittman ($6900) could be good to go this weekend, making him a priority target for us. QB Matt Ryan ($5200) has looked like “4th quarter of Super Bowl LI” Ryan, which isn’t a compliment. Though, at that minuscule price, he might be worth a look. Ryan teams playing in a dome average 25.56 points per game. If he throws 3 touchdowns, then he likely scores more than 20 fantasy points. However, I wouldn’t bet on it.
Other games that catch my eye for DFS goodness include Lions-Vikings, Rams-Cardinals and Jaguars-Chargers.
Check in again next time for The Wednesday Watchman: Week 4!
(Data courtesy of SIS and TruMedia Networks)