Each week, we dive into the stats from each NFL game and examine player performances that were noteworthy from a fantasy perspective.
Patrick Mahomes picked up where he left off in the Super Bowl, tossing 3 TDs on a pedestrian 211 yards. Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins and Tyreek Hill were on the receiving end of his TD throws. Clyde Edwards-Helaire was the talk of the night with 138 yards on the ground and a rushing TD. He had five goal line opportunities but was only able to convert on one, rewarding owners who took a risk on him early in the first.
For Houston, David Johnson regained his 2018 form, rumbling for 77 yards on 11 carries and punching in a TD as well. Will Fuller had over 100 yards receiving and looked excellent the entire night. Deshaun Watson had 253 yards through the air with one TD and rushed for another as well. Brandin Cooks played for the Texans but was obviously not 100%.
Josh Allen rushed for a first down against the Jets Getty Images
Josh Allen had a career day, leading to a top five QB finish this week in fantasy, with 312 yards passing, 2 TDs and 57 yards and a TD on the ground. He also had some bad misses in the passing game and fumbled twice. Devin Singletary only had 9/30 on the ground but also snagged 5 catches for 23 yards. Stefon Diggs had 86 yards receiving and looked dialed in. John Brown had 70 yards and a TD and could have had another on a Josh Allen overthrow. Zack Moss got a lot of goal line looks, and that seems to be where he will contribute this year. The Jets struggled on offense all day. Jamison Crowder converted a long screen pass for a TD to save his fantasy day. Le'Veon Bell left the game with a hamstring injury and will be out for Week 2.
A shootout in Minnesota this week with top fantasy performers on both side of the ball. Aaron Rodgers looked vintage this week, tossing four TDs on 364 yards passing. Davante Adams had 156 yards on 14 catches with a TD. Aaron Jones had 66 yards and 1 TD as well. For the Vikings, Adam Thielen had 110 yards and 2 TD catches. Dalvin Cook, fresh off a new contract extension, had 50 yards and 2 TDs on the ground. Kirk Cousins had 259 yards and 2 TDs. Rookie Justin Jefferson only had 2 catches for 26 yards and looks bench-able until more consistent production can be found.
Eagles 17 - Washington 27
A big surprise this week as the Eagles blew a 17 point lead, losing 27-17 to the Washington Football Team. Carson Wentz threw 2 TDs to each of his starting tight ends, Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, but couldn't do much else behind a patchwork offensive line. Goedert had 101 yards on 8 catches, and looks to be challenging Ertz as the team's top tight end. Rookie Jalen Reagor had 1 catch for 55 yards but was otherwise quiet. Dwayne Haskins had 178 yards passing, but it was Peyton Barber who punched in 2 goal line TDs. He had 29 yards on 17 attempts. Antonio Gibson had 36 yards on 9 carries but was not used near the goal line.
JK Dobbins finds the endzone for one of his two rushing TDs on the day.Scott Taetsch/Getty Images
Lamar Jackson and the Ravens cruised against a depleted Browns defense. Lamar Jackson threw 2 TDs to TE Mark Andrews, who picked up right where he left off in 2019. Jackson had 275 yards and 3 TDs and looked more proficient as a passer. Rookie JK Dobbins converted 2 goal line rushes for TDs, but Mark Ingram is still the starter for now. Baker Mayfield struggled against the Ravens defense, completing 21/39 passes for 189 yards. Odell Beckham only had 3 catches for 22 yards. Austin Hooper contributed 2 catches for 15 yards. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt each had 60+ yards on the ground, but the game got away and pushed the script to more passing for Cleveland in the second half.
The Jaguars surprised the whole NFL by upsetting the Colts Sunday. Undrafted rookie RB James Robinson had 62 yards on the ground as well as 30 yards in the passing game. Second round pick, Laviska Shenault Jr, had his first career TD and seemed very comfortable with the offense. Gardner Minshew had a 95% completion percentage, going 19/20 for 173 yards and 3 TDs. Philip Rivers had 2 TDs and 2 INTs in his Colts debut, but was otherwise unable to lead a comeback. Marlon Mack was lost for the year with a torn achilles tendon, which means the Colts' first round pick, Jonathan Taylor, will take over as the main RB for the remainder of the year. TY Hilton had a pedestrian 53 yards on 4 catches, but should improve as the season goes on.
The Raiders pulled out a win on the east coast to start their inaugural season in Las Vegas. Josh Jacobs had 3 TDs to lead the team and is cemented as a top tier RB this year if he can stay healthy. Rookie Henry Ruggs had 55 yards on 3 catches, a promising start. Christian McCaffrey had 2 TDs and 96 rushing yards, while Robbie Anderson had 115 yards receiving and a TD catch as well. Anderson looks like he has the best chemistry with Bridgewater to start the year. DJ Moore had a disappointing 54 yards on 4 catches, but Carolina's passing offense will be much better this year.
Trubisky lead the Bears to 3 TDs in the 4th quarter AP
Chicago erased a 26-3 4th quarter deficit on 3 Mitchell Trubisky passing TDs and the Bears snuck out of Detroit with a victory this week. Trubisky was 20/36 for 253 yards and 3 TDs while David Montgomery had 64 yards on 13 carries. Anthony Miller and Allen Robinson each had 70+ yards this week with Miller snagging a TD. Adrian Peterson was the bell cow for the Lions, rushing for 93 yards on 14 carries. TJ Hockenson had 56 yards and a TD and rookie Quintez Cephus had 43 yards on 3 catches in place of injured Kenny Golladay.
Russell Wilson was damn near perfect in Atlanta on Sunday, going 31/35 for 322 yards and 4 TDs. DK Metcalf lead the way with 95 yards and a TD through the air while Chris Carson had 2 TDs through the air. Tyler Lockett also had 92 yards receiving. For the Falcons, Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley each went over 100 yards receiving, with Ridley pulling in 2 TDs as well. Todd Gurley had a score on the ground for the Falcons as well. Matt Ryan had 450 yards passing this week, good for best in the NFL for week 1.
The new look New England Patriots took care of the Miami Dolphins this week on Cam Newton's 75 yards rushing and 2 TDs. He only had 155 yards on 15 completions through the air. Sony Michel had a rushing TD and 37 yards while Julian Edelman contributed 57 yards through the air. Ryan Fitzpatrick struggled for the Dolphins, throwing 3 INTs this week. Devante Parker was held in check by the Patriots defense, only getting 47 yards on 4 catches. Myles Gaskin led the Dolphins backfield with 40 yards on 9 carries while Matt Breida had 22 yards on 5 carries.
Los Angeles Chargers v Cincinnati Bengals Getty Images
The Joe Burrow show began with a bang and ended with a fizzle this week in Cincinnati. Burrow had a rushing TD this week to pair with 193 yards passing. Joe Mixon had 69 yards on the ground with a fumble while AJ Green led the receivers with 51 yards on 5 catches. Tyrod Taylor had 208 yards through the air. Austin Ekeler had 84 yards on the ground while Joe Kelly had 60 yards and a TD. Hunter Henry had 73 yards through the air, the most on the team this week. Keenan Allen had 37 yards on 4 catches.
Arizona's Kyler Murray came into Levi Stadium and shocked the 49ers. Murray had 230 yards through the air and with a TD to go along with 91 yards rushing and a TD. Kenyan Drake had 61 yards rushing with a TD. DeAndre Hopkins had a massive 151 yards receiving on 14 catches. Hopkins is going to have a monster year. Jimmy Garoppolo had 2 TDs on 259 yards for the 49ers. Raheem Mostert showed the NFL why he wanted a raise this off season, with 56 yards rushing paired with 95 yards receiving and a TD, he look everything like a top 10 RB this year in fantasy.
Buccaneers 23 - Saints 34
Tom Brady got off to a rocky start in Tampa Bay, throwing 2 terrible INTs to go along with 2 passing TDs and a rushing TD. He looked rusty and was not on the same page as some of his teammates. Ronald Jones had the lion-share of carries, having 17 for 65 yards. Chris Godwin led the receivers with 6 receptions for 79 yards. OJ Howard had a TD reception, on 36 yards. Drew Brees struggled to get the ball to his receivers, but his defense did enough to slow the Bucs while he fed the ball to Alvin Kamara. Kamara had 16 rushing yards and a TD as well as 51 receiving yards and a TD. Jared Cook pitched in 80 yards on 5 catches.
CeeDee Lamb had a great debut for the Cowboys.startelegram.com
The Cowboys struggled to get their offense going against a (possibly?) underrated Rams defense. Zeke Elliott had a rushing and receiving TD. Amari Cooper had 81 yards on 10 catches while Michael Gallup had 6 catches for 50 yards. Rookie Ceedee Lamb had 59 yards on 5 catches. The Rams pounded the ball with Malcolm Brown, who had 79 yards and 2 TDs. Cam Akers had 39 yards on 14 carries. Right now, the backfield seems to be Brown's to lose, as Akers looked nothing like a starting RB against an exploitable Cowboys defense. Robert Woods had 105 yards receiving while Cooper Kupp had a disappointing 40 yards.
Big Ben is back! Roethlisberger had 229 yards and 3 TDs on Monday night while James Conner left the game early with an ankle injury. Benny Snell filled in admirably, rushing for 113 yards on 19 carries. Rookie Anthony McFarland Jr did not see an attempt. JuJu Smith-Schuster had 69 yards and 2 of Ben's TDs, while James Washington accounted for the other. Diontae Johnson had 57 yards but also had a costly fumble. Daniel Jones was under duress all night from the Steelers defense, throwing for 279 yards with 2 TDs and 2 INTs. Saquon Barkley had 15 rushes for 6(!) yards, as he could get nothing going against Pittsburgh. Darius Slayton had over 100 yards receiving and looks to be Jones' favorite target.
The late Monday night game brought a defensive battle. The Titans' Ryan Tannehill had 249 yards and 2 TDs, while Derrick Henry had a massive 31 carries for 116 yards. Corey Davis had over 100 yards on 7 catches, and his production deserves attention, as he was second fiddle to AJ Brown (5-39 yards) last year. Drew Lock had 216 yards and a TD in his debut. Noah Fant led the Broncos receivers with 81 yards on 5 catches and 1 TD. Melvin Gordon dominated the RB touches for Denver, gaining 78 yards on 15 carries with a TD. He also had a costly fumble deep in Titans territory. He looks to be the RB play though right now in Denver. Jerry Jeudy had a nice debut with Cortland Sutton injured. He had 56 yards on 4 catches and looks startable against exploitable defenses.
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It's another eventful week in the NFL.
Four teams -- the Jets, Falcons, Saints, and 49ers -- are the first teams to get a bye week. After Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers narrowly escaped Thursday Night Football with a 28-22 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, the reigning Super Bowl champs are the first team with five wins in the league. Who will join them on Sunday? We know that we'll get at least a second five-win team since the 4-1 Ravens are hosting the 4-1 Chargers. That is going to be an epic battle, so let's start with that clash of AFC contenders. Welcome to our Week 6 NFL Best Bets.
Playing on the road is a difficult task for any team, but if any team can escape with a victory, it's Justin Herbert and the Chargers. This isn't the Chargers of the last decade. This team is winning the close battles. Herbert is playing at an MVP level this season and already has led this team to big-time wins over the Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns -- two of the top teams in the AFC. This L.A. team is deep at the skill positions, can rush the passer, has an improved offensive line and a great young coach. What's not to like?
All that said, Lamar Jackson seems to be playing as he did during his 2019 MVP campaign. Not to mention, Marquise "Hollywood" Brown is actually catching passes. He eclipsed 100 yards last week and scored two touchdowns (including the game-winning catch in overtime). Simply put, this is a tough team to bet against. It did take last-second heroics for the Ravens to beat the winless Lions and a pretty pedestrian Colts team. Overall, Baltimore hasn't faced a test like this yet this season. Take the points and the better overall squad. Chargers may win this game, but if they don't, they are not going to lose by more than a field goal.
PICK: Chargers +3.5
It's been a tough start to the season for the Chiefs. They had great odds to return to the Super Bowl and are now last in the AFC West heading into Week 16 with a 2-3 record. They desperately need this game. This is a great opportunity for the Chiefs to prove they are still elite by defeating a team that made the postseason last year on the road. The Chiefs are going to turn it around against a Washington defense that is allowing the sixth-most passing yards and second-most passing touchdowns this season. Patrick Mahomes is going to blow up. Tyreek Hill is going to dominate. Travis Kelce is going to continue to provide a steady source of receptions down the middle of the field. As long as the Chiefs' offensive line holds against Chase Young, it's going to be a long day for Washington's defense. Betting on Mahomes to right the ship isn't a really difficult choice.
PICK: Chiefs -6.5
Yes, the Texans are one of the worst teams in the league. Betting on them on the road against a divisional rival might seem crazy at first. However, the Texans are 7-3 against the spread as underdogs in their last 10 games. Plus, the Colts are emotional after completely giving away the game against the Ravens in which they blew a 22-3 lead late in the game. This is going to cause a bit of a hangover in that locker room. When New England suffered a terrible loss against Tom Brady and the Bucs, the Texans managed to cover the spread the following week. Look for history to repeat itself. Texans coach David Culley has Houston playing hard in spite of its lack of talent and quarterback Davis Mills appeared to take a step forward last week against the Pats. Houston has played pretty good pass defense, too. The Texans have allowed only seven passing TDs this season.
PICK: Texans +9
Sunday night will be an interesting matchup to watch as Geno Smith will make his first start in four years as the Seahawks travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers. I hate betting on Ben Roethlisberger, but it's hard to envision the Seahawks covering the spread without the services of Russell Wilson. And as much as I think Big Ben should hang up his cleats, you have to give him credit for the way he dominated a solid Broncos defense last week. Roethlisberger looked better than he did earlier in the season and was able to get the ball to his playmakers -- Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and running back Najee Harris. Seattle's defense is one of the worst in the league and their secondary is even worse than their front seven. Look for the Steelers to light up Seattle in the passing game.
PICK: Steelers -5
Both of these offenses can put up a lot of points, though they go about it very differently. The Browns are a run-heavy team, and even though they will be without the services of Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt is more than capable of getting the job done. Meanwhile, Arizona's offense runs through electric quarterback Kyler Murray. Murray is able to move the chains with his legs but he isn't afraid to toss the ball either. He loves getting his guys involved and his weapons are elite in DeAndre Hopkins, Rondale Moore, and Christian Kirk.
The Browns are coming off an 89-point slugest with the Chargers and hit the OVER in their other game against a high-end offense in a 33-29 loss to the Chiefs. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have scored 30-plus points in four of five games this year. Smash the OVER.
PICK: OVER 49.5
Week 2 of the NFL was full of breakout performances, thrilling finishes and potentially the start of the Justin Fields era in the NFC North as the Bears' win over the Bengals finds them in first place in the division.
We cap off the week with a Monday Night Football showdown between the Packers and the Lions with the winner finding themselves tied for first in the North. The Packers put up an absolute dud of a performance last week against the Saints in Week 1 while the Lions looked surprisingly effective while playing catch-up against the West-leading 49ers. The expectations for these two teams couldn't have been further apart coming into the season but with matching 0-1 starts on the books, I think there are a couple of interesting props and roster construction angles to exploit.
NFL DFS Showdown Picks
*Prices are from DraftKings
Captain: TE T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions ($9,600) ($14,400)
I'm normally not a fan of playing a tight end in the captain spot, but T.J. Hockenson is not your average tight end. He finished 2020 with an elite 18% target share in the Lions' offense and picked up right where he left off in Week 1, finishing with an 18.2% share on 50 routes run last week. Hockenson has always carried premium TD upside as a red-zone target but what was most encouraging about last week was that he ran nearly 55% of his routes out of the slot, leaving him a matchup against Chandon Sullivan, who's allowing a 67% catch rate in his coverage. In a game where the Lions are projected to be down early, expect Hockenson to get fed once again. His red-zone utilization gives him enough juice to take the captain's chair in my builds.
Core Consideration: QB Jared Goff, Detroit Lions ($10,000)
Two principles I take into Showdown slates apply to this play. Generally speaking, if I have a pass-catcher as my captain, I'm finding a way to get their QB into a flex spot. The second is that your build needs to tell a story. Mine is that the Packers come out with something to prove after getting embarrassed in Week 1 and that we'll likely see upwards of 50 pass attempts from Jared Goff as he attempts to mount a comeback. Goff is a surprisingly effective passer when getting good protection and this unit gave him a clean pocket on 86.7% of snaps last week. Expect that to continue tonight as Goff will continue to feast in garbage time.
Contrarian Play: WR Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers ($2,000)
I still chuckle at the thought of the return of Randall Cobb being on the short-list of demands from Aaron Rodgers in the midst of his holdout. I do, however, think there is something to be said about the importance of chemistry between a quarterback and his receiver and I expect that in a typical game (which Week 1 was not), Aaron Rodgers is going to find his spots to get Cobb involved. In a game script that figures to have the Packers up by a healthy margin, not many are going to look at the tertiary passing options for Green Bay and I think a $2,000 Randall Cobb could sneak in a handful of receptions at single-digit ownership..
Salary Relief: WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions ($2,400)
This one fits perfectly into my narrative for the game as well. In a game where the Lions are likely to flirt with 50+ pass attempts and coming off a week where St. Brown ran routes on 75% of the team's passing plays, I will be overweight on Amon-Ra tonight. Lining up in the slot on 74.5% of plays means St. Brown will primarily see coverage from Chandon Sullivan, the most favorable of the options GB lines up in their defensive secondary. Expect St. Brown to see his target volume increase tonight. If Detroit can be more effective in getting to the red zone, he carries decent scoring upside with the way he's utilized in this offense. Plus, who doesn't love the extra motivation of playing against their big bro?
Monday Night Football Best Bets
Taking a look at the wagering side of this game; before we determine anything else we must ask ourselves what we think of these Green Bay Packers. I tend to look at last week's performance as the exception and not the rule. With that being the case, I am laying the 11.5 points and taking GB tonight. Over the past six seasons, oddsmakers have been fairly sharp when it comes to these larger spreads and NFL teams cover double-digit spreads more than 55% of the time. The total for tonight is sitting at 48.5 and given the somewhat surprising ability of the Lions to make up ground last week, I am confidently on the "over" side of that line.
Picks: Packers -11.5, OVER 48.5 points
Taking a look at the prop market, I am again mainly investing in the "GB Blowout" narrative:
D'Andre Swift: OVER 28.5 Receiving Yard
Coming off a 65-yard performance in a very similar game script, this one feels like a no-brainer. Swift averages nearly 8 yards per reception so this really boils down to whether you think he catches more than 3 passes. I certainly do and I'm confidently on the OVER for this prop. FanDuel is currently carrying the best odds at -110.
T.J. Hockenson: Anytime TD
I'm not the biggest fan of these "to score" props, but I'll break from the norm with this one. I am projecting the Lions to at least have a go at it in this game and there simply isn't a scenario where that doesn't involve a score for Hockenson. +220 odds at FanDuel sort of feels like stealing given that I see this game going over the 48.5 total.
AJ Dillon | UNDER 8.5 Rushing Attempts
I know that the betting public is forecasting a fairly comfortable win for the Packers, but let's not get carried away. AJ Dillon would have to nearly double his career average for carries to get to this number. Plus, it's a bit unlikely that this game gets so far out of reach that Green Bay brings in their backups. Even last week when they did bring in the second-stringers, Dillon only saw 4 carries. I'm expecting Aaron Jones to have a monster day on the ground, as evidenced by my Saturday article.
Week 1 is in the books and it's time to move on to the best bets in Week 2.
If you listened to my article earlier this week, you would have started 1-0 for taking the Giants with the points against Washington in that thriller of a matchup Thursday night. Now, let's dive into Week 2's best NFL bets.
Tennessee Titans/Seattle Seahawks Over 54
The Seahawks' offense was high-flying in the first half last week. Because the Colts never really threatened the outcome of the game, the Seahawks were able to take the air out of the ball and finish the game with an easy win while only scoring seven in the second half. While both the Titans' defense and offense looked atrocious, expect Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry to have big bounce-back weeks and make this an epic high-scoring game. This has all the makings for a shootout in which both teams put up 30-plus points.
Cincinnati Bengals +2.5 @ Chicago Bears
Until that Monday night game, the Bengals had the honor of winning the craziest Week 1 game over the Vikings in overtime. The Bears' defense, which is supposed to be their strength, looked awful against the Rams, including one of the most blown coverages you'll ever see on Cooper Kupp's long touchdown. It was simply an awful week for the Bears. I don't think it gets any better until they remove Dalton and promote Justin Fields. If they don't do that prior to game time, the Bengals will run away with this one.
Los Angeles Rams -3.5 @ Indianapolis Colts
Coming out of Week 1 the Rams looked great on both sides of the ball. Matthew Stafford had a great first game, going 20 for 26 with three touchdowns. The Colts... They didn't look that great on either side of the ball. While Carson Wentz's overall numbers didn't look bad, most of the yardage and one of his two TDs came in the fourth quarter as they were chasing from two or more scores back, never actually threatening to win the game. I'm leaning towards the Rams winning this in a blowout and would consider alternate spreads.
Arizona Cardinals -3.5 vs. Minnesota Vikings
Kyler Murray appears to be a man on a mission to avenge last season's bitter ending after absolutely torching the Tennesee Titans in Nashville. The Vikings' defense, who hasn't been as formidable as years past, is going to have their hands full with Kyler. Last week they allowed Joe Burrow to complete nearly 80% of his passes, and Burrow isn't a threat to run nor has a receiver as talented as DeAndre Hopkins. If the Vikings offense doesn't step up and make this a shootout, things could get ugly in Phoenix.
Dallas Cowboys + 3.5 @ Los Angeles Chargers
Dak Prescott looked great in Week 1 and if there were any issues with his shoulder after throwing 58 times, he had 10 days to get healed up again and ready for the Chargers. I can almost guarantee, whenever the Cowboys go to play either Los Angeles team in their stadium, that there will be more Cowboys fans than LA fans. So while they aren't playing in Jerry World, they'll have more fan support. My concern for Justin Herbert and the Chargers is their efficiency in the red zone. His most potent weapons in Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler become less effective as they get closer to the goal line. That leaves Jared Cook and Mike Williams as your bigger bodies in the red zone, which isn't ideal. The Cowboys have a decent chance to win this one outright, but you can take the points for some cushion.
- Cowboys ML (+160)
- Titans +6.5 (-105)
- Steelers ML (-225)
- Rams -3.5 (-110)
Five Props To Consider
- Calvin Ridley OVER 6.5 receptions (+115)
- Tyrod Taylor OVER 34.5 Pass Attempts (-105)
- Aaron Jones OVER 88.5 combined yards (-115)
- Nick Chubb OVER 17.5 carries (-120)
- James Robinson OVER 9.5 carries (-125)
All five of these props have an excellent chance at hitting. I like the idea of wagering a three-leg prop parlay with the last three props listed (Jones, Chubb and J-Rob). Thanks me on Monday.