NFL Game Previews: Rams-49ers Matchup

NFL Game Previews: Rams-49ers Matchup

This article is part of our NFL Game Previews series.

L.A. Rams (+1.5) at San Francisco, o/u 41.5
Monday, 8:15 p.m. EDT

The Rams are the only team in the NFC West above .500, but the 49ers are the only one with a positive point differential, which kind of tells you how things are going for the division as a whole. Los Angeles didn't exactly take that Week 1 shellacking by Buffalo as a wake-up call — it nearly blew a 21-point lead against the Falcons in Week 2, and benefited from Arizona's utter inability to get the end into the end zone last week — but the defending champs have still won consecutive games. Matthew Stafford also managed not to throw any picks against the Cards, which is nice. The veteran QB's numbers are otherwise fine, and Cooper Kupp absurdly scored his first career rushing TD the week his streak of receiving dominance ended, so there's nothing much to worry about here. Sean McVay clearly wants Cam Akers to be his No. 1 running back, but he also wants Akers to seize the job rather than getting it handed to him, so that goal-line fumble against Arizona might mean more work for Darrell Henderson again in this one. Also, I can't help but notice that as Allen Robinson continues to struggle, preseason beast Lance McCutcheon has crept onto the gameday roster, although he only saw special teams action last week. Cutch Time is coming, it's only a question of when.

There's been a lot of mockery directed Jimmy Garoppolo

L.A. Rams (+1.5) at San Francisco, o/u 41.5
Monday, 8:15 p.m. EDT

The Rams are the only team in the NFC West above .500, but the 49ers are the only one with a positive point differential, which kind of tells you how things are going for the division as a whole. Los Angeles didn't exactly take that Week 1 shellacking by Buffalo as a wake-up call — it nearly blew a 21-point lead against the Falcons in Week 2, and benefited from Arizona's utter inability to get the end into the end zone last week — but the defending champs have still won consecutive games. Matthew Stafford also managed not to throw any picks against the Cards, which is nice. The veteran QB's numbers are otherwise fine, and Cooper Kupp absurdly scored his first career rushing TD the week his streak of receiving dominance ended, so there's nothing much to worry about here. Sean McVay clearly wants Cam Akers to be his No. 1 running back, but he also wants Akers to seize the job rather than getting it handed to him, so that goal-line fumble against Arizona might mean more work for Darrell Henderson again in this one. Also, I can't help but notice that as Allen Robinson continues to struggle, preseason beast Lance McCutcheon has crept onto the gameday roster, although he only saw special teams action last week. Cutch Time is coming, it's only a question of when.

There's been a lot of mockery directed Jimmy Garoppolo's way for pulling an Orlovsky last week and for his generally poor showing so far, but cut the guy some slack. He didn't even re-sign with the Niners until the end of August and wasn't working out with the team or even looking at the playbook before then, as it was assumed he would be out the door. The last two games have effectively been his preseason. Granted, most QBs manage not to take safeties by forgetting where the back line of the end zone even during the preseason, and that play could end up defining San Francisco's season if Trent Williams is gone for any length of time and Jimmy GQ doesn't round into form, but for now I'm not reading any omens or portents in it. The really interesting development in the last two games is that Brandon Aiyuk seems to be a true 1B to Deebo Samuel's 1A in the receiving room. If defenses have to worry about both equally (and George Kittle, when he happens to be healthy), Garoppolo could wind up posting some interesting numbers. Like Akers on the other sideline, Jeff Wilson coming off a productive game marred by a late fumble, so I look forward to Marlon Mack or rookie Jordan Mason suddenly popping in a significant role as the 49ers' Wheel of Running Backs continues to spin and spin and spin.

The Skinny

LAR injuries: WR Van Jefferson (IR, knee), LG David Edwards (questionable, illness), C Brian Allen (questionable, knee), RG Tremayne Anchrum (IR, lower leg), CB David Long (questionable, groin), S Jordan Fuller (questionable, hamstring)
SF injuries: QB Trey Lance (IR, ankle), RB Elijah Mitchell (IR, knee), RB Tyrion Davis-Price (out, ankle), LT Williams (out, ankle), C/RG Daniel Brunskill (questionable, hamstring), DT Javon Kinlaw (questionable, knee), DT Arik Armstead (questionable, foot), LB Azeez Al-Shaair (out, knee), CB Jason Varrett (out, knee), S Jimmie Ward (IR, hamstring)

LAR DFS targets: Ben Skowronek $3,800 DK / $5,200 FD (SF 32nd in DVOA vs. WR3)
SF DFS targets: Samuel $7,800 DK / $7,700 FD (LAR 30th in DVOA vs. WR1), Aiyuk $5,100 DK / $6,000 FD (LAR 30th in DVOA vs. WR2)

LAR DFS fades: Stafford $6,600 DK / $7,300 FD (SF first in passing yards per game allowed, t-1st in passing TDs allowed), Akers $5,600 DK / $6,000 FD and Henderson $5,100 DK / $6,000 FD (SF third in rushing DVOA, fourth in rushing yards per game allowed, third in YPC allowed), Kupp $9,900 DK / $9,400 FD (SF fifth in DVOA vs. WR1), Tyler Higbee $4,400 DK / $5,800 FD (SF second in DVOA vs. TE)
SF DFS fades: Wilson $5,400 DK / $7,000 FD (LAR fourth in rushing DVOA, second in passing DVOA vs. RB)

Key stat: SF 20th in third-down conversions at 35.7 percent; LAR 26th in third-down defense at 47.4 percent

Head-to-head record, last five years including playoffs: 7-4 SF, average score 26-24 SF, average margin of victory 11 points. SF has won six straight regular-season meetings by an average score of 27-18

Weather forecast: clear, temperature in the high 60s, less than 10 mph wind, zero percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Henderson leads the Rams backfield with 60 yards. Stafford throws for 240 yards and a TD to Robinson but gets picked off twice, one of which Talanoa Hufanga returns to the house. Wilson manages 70 yards. Garoppolo throws for 250 yards and two scores, one each to Deebo and Aiyuk. 49ers 24-13

Minnesota vs. New Orleans (+3) at London, o/u 43.5
Sunday, 9:30 a.m. EDT

The first game of the year in Old Blighty features Vikings and Saints, which at least has some historical legitimacy. Jaguars and bengals aren't exactly indigenous species. Minnesota escaped with a win over Detroit last week it maybe didn't deserve, but given how many wins this franchise has squandered over the years, karma owes it a few. Dalvin Cook's banged up, but it's just his shoulder popping out the socket again, no big deal. As always, Alexander Mattison is around to spell him if he needs it, but the plan seems to be to just have Cook wear a harness for added stability and stay in the lineup. Justin Jefferson's coming off a couple quiet games, making impatient GMs antsy, but he'll be more than fine in the long run — Kirk Cousins is well on pace for more than 600 attempts, and Jefferson's 25.2 percent target share is on the low end of his range.

New Orleans is 1-2 after blowing it in Carolina last week, but it probably would have pulled it out if the offense hadn't taken the first three quarters off. Yeah, the unit is extremely banged up — the fact that Michael Thomas' foot is still an issue is especially concerning, and it looks like Jameis Winston won't be in the lineup — and rookie Chris Olave is the top skill player not dealing with some injury or other (and for that reason alone, he's probably undervalued as an Offensive Rookie of the Year play). Winston's injuries leave Andy Dalton poised to make his first start as a Saint, and sets up one of those weird bits of NFL synchronicity. The only other time Cousins has played in London was in 2016, when he was still in Washington. His opponent? Andy Dalton and the Bengals. The final result was a 27-27 tie, in which the two QBs combined for nearly 750 passing yards but only three passing touchdowns. The leading receiver for each team was A.J. Green for Cincy and Jamison Crowder for Washington. Time is a flat circle.

The Skinny

MIN injuries: EDGE Za'Darius Smith (questionable, knee), CB Andrew Booth (doubtful, quadriceps)
NO injuries: QB Winston (doubtful, back etc.), RB Alvin Kamara (questionable, ribs), WR Thomas (out, foot), WR Jarvis Landry (questionable, ankle), LT Trevor Penning (IR, toe), RG Andrus Peat (out, concussion), S Marcus Maye (out, ribs)

MIN DFS targets: Vikings DST $3,500 DK / $4,000 FD (NO 28th in sacks allowed, 32nd in giveaways)
NO DFS targets: Dalton $5,100 DK / $6,100 FD (MIN 29th in passing yards per game allowed, 29th in YPA allowed), Kamara $6,900 DK / $6,800 FD and Mark Ingram $5,500 DK / $5,500 FD (MIN 31st in rushing DVOA, 31st in rushing TDs allowed), Juwan Johnson $3,100 DK / $4,600 FD (MIN 28th in DVOA vs. TE)

MIN DFS fades: Cousins $6,200 DK / $7,300 FD (NO fifth in passing yards per game allowed, t-1st in passing TDs allowed)
NO DFS fades: none

Key stat: MIN t-21st in red-zone conversions at 50.0 percent; NO second in red-zone defense at 33.3 percent

Weather forecast: cloudy, temperature in the low 60s, 11-14 mph wind, 1-5 percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Cook plays but manages only 50 yards, while Mattison leads the MIN backfield with 70 yards. Cousins throws for 230 yards and a TD to K.J. Osborn. Kamara pieces together 70 combined yards while Ingram adds 70 yards and a score. Dalton starts and throws for 250 yards, finding Olave for his first NFL touchdown. Saints 17-16

Cleveland at Atlanta (+1.5), o/u 49.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

It's really kind of laughable when you think about it. The Browns spend the first overall pick on Baker Mayfield a few years before dumping massive draft capital and multiple dump trucks full of money on Deshaun Watson's lawn in an effort to secure a true franchise QB, but then they run a ground-and-pound offense that's a perfect fit for a dinking and dunking career backup like Jacoby Brissett. Why expend all those resources on a position you're not going to make a focal point of your team? Imagine what this roster would look like if Cleveland hadn't taken a quarterback early in 2018 (no, seriously, imagine it. It's a wild alternate reality if they take, say, Denzel Ward and Quenton Nelson with those two top-four picks instead. Do the Bills draft Josh Allen if Mayfield or Sam Darnold is still on the board? Who's there for the Cards instead of Josh Rosen, and does he show enough as a rookie to sway them away from taking Kyler Murray the next year? So many dominoes.) Anyway, Nick Chubb leads the NFL in rushing through three weeks while Kareem Hunt is in the top 15 among RBs in PPR scoring, what other passing Brissett does mostly goes to Amari Cooper and occasionally David Njoku, and that's just how the Browns like it. I'm sure whatever upgrade Watson eventually provides in this scheme is worth a guaranteed $230 million, though.

The Falcons have been one of the more surprising offenses in the league — they are ninth in both points per game and yards per play — and it hasn't been due to the young pass-catchers duo of Kyle Pitts and Drake London. Nope, Atlanta's secret weapon once again has been Cordarrelle Patterson, mainly because nobody believed he could do it two years in a row. Chubb may be in the lead for the rushing crown, but Patterson is third with an absurd 6.2 yards per carry. He's been so good on the ground, Marcus Mariota hadn't needed to throw it to him much in an effort to get him the ball in space, as he's finding that space all on his own. It shouldn't last, but he shouldn't be producing at this level in the first place. Pitts has been a disappointment, but he started off slowly in his rookie season too — 15-189-0 on 26 targets through his first four NFL games — so there's no reason to panic. As defenses adjust to Patterson, things will open for him. The Falcons' own defense can't stop anybody, but that's just a formula for more fantasy production on both sides. Mariota also gets a break this week with Cleveland's pass rush potentially missing its two biggest threats, which might encourage him to stay in the pocket a little longer and air it out.

The Skinny

CLE injuries: QB Watson (out, suspension), DE Myles Garrett (questionable, shoulder), DE Jadeveon Clowney (questionable, ankle), LB Anthony Walker (IR, quadriceps), CB Greedy Williams (IR, hamstring)
ATL injuries: RB Patterson (questionable, knee), WR Calvin Ridley (out, suspension), LB Deion Jones (IR, shoulder), CB Isaiah Oliver (IR, knee)

CLE DFS targets: Donovan Peoples-Jones $4,000 DK / $5,400 FD (ATL 25th in DVOA vs. WR2), David Bell $3,100 DK / $4,700 FD (ATL 26th in DVOA vs. WR3)
ATL DFS targets: none

CLE DFS fades: none
ATL DFS fades: Falcons DST $2,800 DK / $3,400 FD (CLE t-4th in sacks allowed, t-1st in giveaways)

Key stat: CLE sixth in third-down conversions at 47.8 percent; ATL t-27th in third-down defense at 47.5 percent

The Scoop: Chubb rumbles for 100 yards and a score, while Hunt adds 80 combined yards and a touchdown. Brissett throws for 250 yards and two TDs, hitting Cooper and Njoku. Patterson piles up 90 scrimmage yards and a touchdown. Mariota throws for 210 yards and a score to Olamide Zaccheaus while running in a TD of his own. Browns 31-24

Buffalo at Baltimore (+3), o/u 51.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

How the heck do you lose a game when you run 51 more plays than your opponent? That's a question the Bills could be asking themselves for a long time, especially if last week's loss comes back to bite them as a tiebreaker at the end of the year, but odds are good it's just a bump in the road to the AFC East title and a good motivator ahead of what is, on paper, another tough matchup. Josh Allen's on pace for simply stupid numbers (more than 5,500 passing yards and 50-plus TDs, and that's before you factor in his rushing contributions), and that's not only made Stefon Diggs WR1 through three weeks, it's made guys like Isaiah McKenzie useful. Fuddy-duddy talking heads keep talking about this offense needing "balance" and not relying on Allen so much, but really, do you want the ball in his hands, or Devin Singletary's? Yeah, that's what I thought. Not to be outdone, the defense is putting up elite numbers again too (first in QB rating against, second in yards per play allowed, that sort of thing), and that's with a short-handed secondary. Imagine what this unit will look like when Tre'Davious White, Jordan Poyer, etc., are 100 percent healthy. Jinkies.

Speaking of MVP contenders, Allen's only real competition might be Lamar Jackson. (Wait your turn, Eagles fans, I'm getting there.) He has a lengthy list of "nobody's ever done this before" accolades, but my favorite might be this one — no player in history has ever accumulated 10-plus passing TDs and 200-plus rushing yards in the first three games of the season, and it's only ever been done once before over any three-game stretch of a season? That one other time? Yup, Jackson's 2019 MVP campaign. The fact that he's done it without a reliable option at RB (J.K. Dobbins should get there eventually, but he's got some rust to shake off first) and with a collection of pass-catchers that's basically just Mark Andrews and a couple of speedy guys who would only be deep-threat No. 3 wideouts on a lot of other teams makes Lamar's performance that much more remarkable. Sorry, but if you put Devin Duvernay on a team with a deeper depth chart he's Jalen Guyton or Marquise Goodwin. In Baltimore, he has three touchdowns on eight targets. Part of what has fueled Jackson's big numbers, though, is a secondary that for a second straight year has been absolutely abysmal. It's kind of a miracle they're even 2-1. Where have you gone, Ed Reed, Ravens Nation turns its lonely eyes to you. This unit just let a hobbled Mac Jones throw for more than 300 yards, and the scars from that Tua Tagovailoa torching are still fresh. What do you think Allen's going to do to these guys?

The Skinny

BUF injuries: WR Gabe Davis (questionable, ankle), WR Jake Kumerow (out, ankle), TE Dawson Knox (questionable, foot), C Mitch Morse (questionable, elbow), DT Ed Oliver (questionable, ankle), CB White (out, knee), CB Dane Jackson (questionable, neck), S Micah Hyde (IR, neck), S Poyer (questionable, foot)
BAL injuries: RB Gus Edwards (out, knee), LT Ronnie Stanley (questionable, ankle), EDGE Justin Houston (doubtful, groin), EDGE Tyus Bowser (out, Achilles), EDGE David Ojabo (out, Achilles), CB Kyle Fuller (IR, knee)

BUF DFS targets: Allen $8,400 DK / $8,900 FD (BAL 32nd in passing yards per game allowed, 28th in YPA allowed, t-25th in passing TDs allowed), Bills DST $3,200 DKI / $4,200 FD (t-3rd in sacks, t-4th in takeaways, t-4th in points per game allowed)
BAL DFS targets: Duvernay $4,100 DK / $5,700 FD (BUF 26th in DVOA vs. WR2)

BUF DFS fades: McKenzie $5,100 DK / $5,900 FD (BAL first in DVOA vs. WR3)
BAL DFS fades: Jackson $8,300 DK / $8,800 FD (BUF second in passing DVOA, second in passing yards per game allowed, t-1st in passing TDs allowed), Dobbins $5,300 DK / $5,800 FD (BUF fifth in rushing DVOA, second in rushing yards per game allowed, second in YPC allowed), Demarcus Robinson $3,400 DK / $4,800 FD (BUF third in DVOA vs. WR3), Andrews $7,100 DK / $8,400 FD (BUF first in DVOA vs. TE) 

Key stat: BUF first in third-down conversions at 61.0 percent; BAL eighth in third-down defense at 32.4 percent

Weather forecast: overcast, temperature in the mid-50s, 14 mph wind, 30-50 percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Singletary leads the BUF backfield with 70 yards and a touchdown. Allen throws for 280 yards and three scores, hitting Diggs (who tops 100 yards) twice and Davis once. Justice Hill leads the BAL backfield again with 70 combined yards. Jackson throws for 240 yards and runs for 50, finding Duvernay and Rashod Bateman for TDs. Bills 28-23

Washington (+3.5) at Dallas, o/u 41.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

I've joked at using WFC (Washington Football Commanders) as the abbreviation for the Commanders because it's a dumb name that's almost as dumb as the generic Football Team moniker they had before (but not as bad as the one they had before that, of course), but all the other possibilities for that initialism given that their starting QB is Carson Wentz only just occurred to me. Wentz's Conspicuous Flailing? What the Eff, Carson? So many options. Wentz's hot start to the season is already fading, but I can't even really blame him for it entirely. He's been sacked an NFL-high 15 times, tied with Joe Burrow, and Philly brought him down nine times in Week 3. PFF actually graded Wentz out well last year in what they term a "pressured pocket" (cue the Jim Gaffigan?), but he didn't exactly look like a guy with much pocket awareness last week — though when defenders are coming at you from every direction on every dropback, I imagine some sort of awareness fatigue is going to set in, and it all becomes background noise. The team's assembled a talented group of receivers around him — Jahan Dotson looks like the real deal, and Curtis Samuel has become more of a discounted designer Deebo due to a barely perceptible flaw in the stitching rather than a cheap knockoff Deebo from a bargain rack — but if Wentz doesn't have time to find them, it doesn't mean much. He could also be working with a third-string center this week. Ulp.

Oh, hello there, Micah Parsons, just talking about you. While everyone was worried about how the offense would deal with the loss of Dak Prescott, Parsons has led a Dallas defense that's on a mission to wreck every offensive game plan put in front of it. Not only does the second-year stud have four sacks through three games, DeMarcus Lawrence is coming off a three-sack game against Daniel Jones and Dorance Armstrong (who?) also has three in three games. As a team, the Cowboys lead the league with 13 sacks, and only San Francisco Kansas City have higher pressure rates. That offense is getting healthier, too, Michael Gallup should be back any day now to give Cooper Rush another capable target before he hands the reins back to Prescott, perhaps as soon as Week 5 against the Rams. Oh, and Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard are coming off a game in which they combined for 178 rushing yards and a TD. Yeah, it was against the Giants, but it's not like this week's opponent is any scarier.

The Skinny

WAS injuries: RB Brian Robinson (out, knee), LT Charles Leno (questionable, shoulder), C Chase Roullier (IR. Knee), C Wes Schweitzer (out, concussion), DE Chase Young (out, knee)
DAL injuries: QB Prescott (out, thumb), WR James Washington (IR, foot), TE Dalton Schultz (questionable, knee), LT Tyron Smith (IR, knee), LG Connor McGovern (questionable, ankle), S Jayron Kearse (questionable, knee) 

WAS DFS targets: J.D. McKissic $5,100 DK / $5,300 FD (DAL 25th in passing DVOA vs. RB)
DAL DFS targets: Rush $5,300 DK / $6,400 FD (WAS 28th in passing DVOA, 28th in passing yards per game allowed, 30th in YPA allowed, t-31st in passing TDs allowed), Noah Brown $4,900 DK / $5,600 FD (WAS 28th in DVOA vs. WR3), Cowboys DST $3,500 DK / $4,700 FD (first in sacks, WAS t-31st in sacks allowed)

WAS DFS fades: Wentz $6,000 DK / $6,900 FD (DAL sixth in passing DVOA, fourth in passing yards per game allowed, fourth in YPA allowed, t-1st in passing TDs allowed)
DAL DFS fades: none

Key stat: DAL t-8th in red-zone conversions at 66.7 percent; WAS 16th in red-zone defense at 53.3 percent

Head-to-head record, last five years: 7-3 DAL, average score 30-21 DAL, average margin of victory 18 points. The last three season series have been sweeps, and five of the last six meetings have been decided by 22 points or more

The Scoop: Antonio Gibson picks up 60 yards, while McKissic gains 80 combined yards and a receiving score. Wentz throws for 240 yards and a second TD to Terry McLaurin but gets picked off twice and sacked five times. Elliott runs for 80 yards and a touchdown, and Pollard adds 70 combined yards. Rush throws for 270 yards and two TDs, finding Brown and CeeDee Lamb, while KaVontae Turpin returns a punt to the house. Cowboys 31-14

Seattle (+4.5) at Detroit, o/u 48 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

The Seahawks aren't winless, but that victory over Russell Wilson in Week 1 might end up looking like the high point of their season. The offense looks pretty toothless, and while Geno Smith's been ridiculously efficient and is on pace for more than 4,000 passing yards, I'm not sure he makes any defensive coordinators nervous. Part of the issue is that Pete Carroll's gonna Pete Carroll, but the run game just can't gain much steam when the linebackers and safeties aren't worried about balls going over their heads. Rashaad Penny's gaining only 2.0 yards before contact per carry, more than a yard less than last year, and giving rookie Kenneth Walker more work isn't going to solve that problem. Combine that with a defense that's near the bottom of the league against the run and in yards per play allowed, and you have a formula for a high draft pick in 2023.

The Lions are 1-2 despite being second in the league in scoring, which sums up their season in a nutshell. Dan Campbell, who has rapidly become my favorite coach in the league, seemed to learn the right lessons from last week's flinch on fourth down, and given their issues on defense, this is a team that's going to live and die based on how aggressive they stay on offense. That's an interesting gamble when Jared Goff is your QB, but it becomes even more fraught when all your best skill players are on the injury report in the same week. It was sad to see an epidemic of ankle injuries in the receiving corps bring Amon-Ra St. Brown's reign of terror against opposition secondaries to an end, but D'Andre Swift at least has a reasonably competent understudy in Jamaal Williams. Even so, it might be time for someone like T.J. Hockenson to step up.

The Skinny

SEA injuries: S Jamal Adams (IR, knee)
DET injuries: RB Swift (out, shoulder), WR St. Brown (out, ankle), WR DJ Chark (questionable, ankle), WR Josh Reynolds (questionable, ankle), WR Jameson Williams (out, knee), LG Jonah Jackson (out, finger), RG Halapoulivaati Vaitai (IR, back), RG Tommy Kraemer (IR, back), K Austin Seibert (out, groin), DE Romeo Okwara (out, Achilles), S Tracy Walker (IR, Achilles)

SEA DFS targets: Penny $4,900 DK / $6,700 FD (DET 27th in rushing yards per game allowed, 27th in YPC allowed, 32nd in rushing TDs allowed), DK Metcalf $6,800 DK / $7,100 FD (DET 24th in DVOA vs. WR2)
DET DFS targets: Goff $5,900 DK / $7,600 FD (SEA 31st in passing DVOA, 32nd in YPA allowed), Williams $6,100 DK / $7,400 FD (SEA t-30th in rushing yards per game allowed, 26th in passing DVOA vs. RB), DJ Chark $5,000 DK / $5,700 FD (SEA 29th in DVOA vs. WR2), Hockenson $4,100 DK / $5,400 FD (SEA 31st in DVOA vs. TE)

SEA DFS fades: Seahawks DST $2,400 DK / $3,300 FD (DET t-4th in sacks allowed, t-5th in giveaways)
DET DFS fades: none

Key stat: DET second in red-zone conversions at 84.6 percent; SEA fourth in red-zone defense at 38.5 percent

The Scoop: Penny busts out for 110 yards and two touchdowns. Smith throws for 230 yards and a TD to Metcalf. Williams responds with 120 combined yards and a score. Goff throws for 280 yards and three TDs, one each to Hockenson, Chark and Quintez Cephus. Lions 28-24

L.A. Chargers at Houston (+5), o/u 44 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

No one (and by no one I mean Kansas City) has pulled away in the AFC West yet, but the Chargers are in serious trouble already. It's not that they're 1-2, or that they got routed at home by the Jaguars last week. Hey, Jacksonville might actually be good, yaneverknow. No, it's the fact that the Bolts' roster has already been gutted by injuries. Starting left tackle Rashawn Slater? Done for the year. Stud pass rusher Joey Bosa? Headed for surgery, return date unknown. Big-name free-agent addition J.C. Jackson, and No. 1 wideout Keenan Allen? Only healthy enough to play one of three games so far, and it wasn't the same game for both. Justin Herbert's stayed on the field, but he's nursing sore ribs. Despite that, he's averaging more than 300 passing yards a game with a 7:2 TD:INT, but he's had to be productive with Austin Ekeler doing almost nothing on the ground. With the missing players, it's even hard to say "this team is too talented to keep playing like this."

On the other hand, the Texans are exactly talented enough to keep playing the way they've been playing. That gift tie in Week 1 means they don't have the worst record in the league, and they don't necessarily have the worst ranking across the board in key statistical categories, but they aren't good at anything. Davis Mills was always a somewhat optimistic choice to be the team's QB of the future, but he seems to have taken a step backward and looks like a guy whose ceiling is competent career backup. Dameon Pierce looks like a solid find in the backfield, but he's not a game-changer, and the passing game issues have even gotten to the usually unflappable Brandin Cooks, who's managed to haul in only 13 of his 29 targets. It's the same story on defense — there are some pieces (2022 third overall pick Derek Stingley, Jonathan Greenard), but they don't have anywhere near enough help. The Texans look like the clear favorite for the top pick in next year's QB-heavy draft, which maybe was the plan all along. Having said all that ... the numbers on the season still resulted in them winning this game when I ran them through my little algorithm, no matter how I massaged them. I should probably just overrule it, especially if the Chargers' injury report gets a little sunnier, but this is the first week of going exclusively with current stats and not factoring in 2021, so what the heck. Let's get silly.

The Skinny

LAC injuries: WR Allen (out, hamstring), LT Slater (IR, biceps), C Corey Linsley (questionable, knee), EDGE Bosa (IR, groin)
HOU injuries: C Justin Britt (out, personal), DE Mario Addison (IR, thigh), CB Tavierre Thomas (IR, quadriceps)

LAC DFS targets: Ekeler $7,700 DK / $8,400 FD (HOU 30th in rushing DVOA, 32nd in rushing yards per game allowed, 31st in YPC allowed), DeAndre Carter $4,000 DK / $5,200 FD (HOU 27th in DVOA vs. WR3)
HOU DFS targets: Rex Burkhead $4,900 DK / $5,100 FD (LAC 31st in passing DVOA vs. RB), Chris Moore $3,500 DK / $5,400 FD (LAC 31st in DVOA vs. WR3)

LAC DFS fades: Joshua Palmer $5,000 DK / $5,800 FD (HOU fifth in DVOA vs. WR2)
HOU DFS fades: Nico Collins $4,000 DK / $5,300 FD (LAC first in DVOA vs. WR2)

Key stat: LAC t-18th in red-zone conversions at 54.5 percent; HOU fifth in red-zone defense at 40.0 percent

The Scoop: Ekeler racks up 90 combined yards. Herbert throws for 250 yards and a TD to Mike Williams. Burkhead leads the HOU backfield with 80 scrimmage yards and a receiving score, while Pierce adds 60 yards. Mills throws for 260 yards and a second touchdown to Moore. Texans 20-13

Tennessee (+3.5) at Indianapolis, o/u 42.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

Not much has gone right for the Titans, aside from their schedule giving them a tilt with the Raiders last week. It's entirely possible this roster peaked with that No. 1 seed in the AFC in 2021, especially if Derrick Henry can't consistently regain his pre-injury form. Everything keys off him — Ryan Tannehill getting to work play-action instead of just dropping back and slinging it, productive seasons out of nondescript tight ends as the linebackers and safeties crowd the box and open up lanes, even the defense playing above its talent level because they're better rested than the opposition. If Henry can't be that battering ram any more, Tennessee isn't bashing its way into the winner's circle. Mixed metaphors aside, I haven't written them off yet, but until the big man starts cranking out games with 30-plus carries and 120-plus rushing yards again, the Titans are in trouble.

Not that the 1-1-1 Colts are in much better shape. They have yet to win a game (they were lucky enough to have their opponent lose one last week) and Matt Ryan isn't looking like the answer at QB. Part of the problem is the same one that's held Jonathan Taylor back — the offensive line isn't what it once was. Indy finished in the top 10 in sacks allowed each of the last four years, with rankings of first and second in the mix. This year? They're 29th through three games, with their 37-year-old signal-called getting dragged down 12 times. Facing a Titans defense missing its best pass rusher might help, but this largely seems to be on Ryan lacking receiving options he trusts outside of Michael Pittman (and Nyheim Hines, who is quietly on pace for career-high numbers as a pass-catcher). Solid performances from rookies Alec Pierce and Jelani Woods last week were an encouraging sign, but they had a combined two targets coming into that game, so there's still some work to be done.

The Skinny

TEN injuries: LT Taylor Lewan (IR, knee), LB Zach Cunningham (out, elbow), EDGE Harold Landry (IR, knee), S Amani Hooker (out, concussion)
IND injuries: DT DeForest Buckner (questionable, elbow), LB Shaquille Leonard (questionable, back), S Julian Blackmon (out, ankle)

TEN DFS targets: Geoff Swaim $3,000 DK / $4,700 FD (29th in DVOA vs. TE)
IND DFS targets: Taylor $8,800 DK / $8,700 FD (TEN 29th in rushing yards per game allowed, 32nd in YPC allowed), Pittman $7,200 DK / $7,500 FD (TEN 31st in DVOA vs. WR1), Parris Campbell $3,400 DK / $4,800 FD (32nd in DVOA vs. WR2)

TEN DFS fades: Henry $8,300 DK / $8,600 FD (IND third in rushing yards per game allowed, first in YPC allowed)
IND DFS fades: Colts DST $3,000 DK / $3,700 FD (t-28th in sacks, TEN t-4th in sacks allowed)

Key stat: TEN 18th in third-down conversions at 36,4 percent; IND 14th in third-down defense at 35,0 percent

Head-to-head record, last five years: 6-4 TEN, average score 25-25, average margin of victory 13 points. TEN has won three straight meetings, and three straight meetings at Lucas Oil Stadium

The Scoop: Henry bangs out 90 scrimmage yards and a TD. Tannehill throws for 240 yards and a score to Robert Woods. Taylor responds with 130 yards and a touchdown. Ryan throws for 250 yards and a TD to Pittman, who tops 100 yards. Colts 20-17

Chicago (+3) at N.Y. Giants, o/u 39.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

By point differential, the Bears aren't the worst 2-1 team in the league — that honor goes to the Rams, with the Cowboys not far behind (ahead?) — but all three are in the negatives, so it's really just splitting hairs. Chicago certainly feels like the flukiest two-win team, though, mainly because one came in a monsoon and the other came against the Texans, which hardly counts. New head coach Matt Eberflus is a defense guy, but it's hard to judge how good a job he's done on that side of the ball. Those same scheduling factors that have them with a winning record should also have helped them stifle offenses, but they're outside the top 10 in points per game allowed and 19th in yards per play allowed, which should be worrisome when they start facing more dangerous offenses. Their own attack is pitiful. Justin Fields appears to have regressed as a passer, and while the running game's been productive, David Montgomery's banged up and Khalil Herbert won't get to face Houston's front seven every week.

Wait, I forgot the Giants on that list of 2-1 teams underwater in point differential. After squeaking out wins over a sluggish Titans team and a scrambling Panthers squad, they got roughed up by the Cowboys' defense in a Monday night game that wasn't as close as the final score suggested. The Saquonaissance is fun — no running back has more scrimmage yards through three games — but he doesn't have much help around him. Daniel Jones spent the entire second half last week trying to avoid throwing a pick everyone in the building knew was coming, but he also doesn't have anyone to throw to, especially now after Sterling Shepard was lost for the year. Think about that — an injury to a guy who's never had a 900-yard receiving season in his career is devastating for this passing game. Maybe the kid wideouts eventually get healthy and things turn around in the second half of the season, but this team seems very much like the Bears, only with a QB who's capable of better passing numbers between turnovers.

The Skinny

CHI injuries: RB Montgomery (out, ankle), WR Velus Jones (questionable, hamstring), DE Robert Quinn (questionable, illness), CB Jaylon Johnson (out, quadriceps)
NYG injuries: WR Shepard (IR, knee), WR Wan'Dale Robinson (out, knee), WR Kadarius Toney (out, hamstring), DE Leonard Williams (out, knee)

CHI DFS targets: Herbert $5,700 DK / $7,200 FD (NYG 28th in rushing DVOA, 28th in YPC allowed, 30th in passing DVOA vs. RB)
NYG DFS targets: David Sills $3,000 DK / $5,200 FD (CHI 27th in DVOA vs. WR2)

CHI DFS fades: none
NYG DFS fades: Richie James $4,000 DK / $5,500 FD (CHI first in DVOA vs. WR1)

Key stat: CHI 23rd in third-down conversions at 34.3 percent; NYG fourth in third-down defense at 27.8 percent

Weather forecast: overcast, temperature in the high 50s, 14-15 mph wind, 40-65 percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Herbert gains 110 combined yards and a TD. Fields throws for less than 200 yards and runs for 50. Saquon Barkley thunders for 130 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns. Jones throws for 250 yards and a score to, I dunno, Darius Slayton? Giants 24-13

Jacksonville (+6.5) at Philadelphia, o/u 47 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

How did this end up as the must-see game of the week? The Jaguars are flying high after dispatching the Chargers in Los Angeles following a shutout win over the Colts at home, so it's time to really consider whether they might be for real. In the Pro column: Doug Pederson is a real coach; Trevor Lawrence seems confident and is surrounded by loads of skill talent; and the young studs in the middle of the defense have taken turns making impact plays. In the Con column: ... it's still the Jags. I'm inclined to think their strong start to the year isn't a fluke, and not just because I have some Lawrence and Travis Etienne shares scattered around. So many of last year's problems were Urban Meyer-generated that it may have disguised how quickly the overall quality of the roster had been rebuilt, especially if it has a legit franchise QB in place.

The Eagles are one of two the only unbeaten team left standing, and it's no fluke. Jalen Hurts is having a third-year breakout very similar to the one Josh Allen (no, the other one) had, and the similarities don't end at his stat line — the addition of a true No. 1 receiver in A.J. Brown has done for Hurts what adding Stefon Diggs did for Allen, and all the other pieces seem to fit better around those two. Hurts is probably third in the MVP race now, but it's a long season. The Eagles' defense is also hot on the heels of the Bills at the top of the rankings in numerous categories, including yards per play allowed and QB rating against, and Philly's offensive line remains elite. (Weirdly, Buffalo's Sean McDermott and Philly's Nick Sirianni aren't from the same coaching tree despite the fact that they're constructed teams that are such mirror images of each other. McDermott served under Andy Reid with the Eagles, but Sirianni left KC's staff the year before Reid showed up). Looking past this game is dangerous, but the Eagles schedule certainly lines up well for a truly epic season. They travel to Arizona next week, but the Cards are reeling. The Cowboys might have Dak Prescott back in Week 6, but will he be 100 percent healthy? After that it's Aaron Rodgers in Week 12 and a trip to Dallas in Week 16, and maybe the Saints will have their act together by Week 17. Otherwise, nobody looks like much of a threat.

The Skinny

JAC injuries: WR Zay Jones (questionable, ankle), CB Shaquill Griffin (questionable, hip)
PHI injuries: DE Derek Barnett (IR, knee), CB Avonte Maddox (out, ankle)

JAC DFS targets: James Robinson $6,400 DK / $7,800 FD and Etienne $5,400 DK / $5,700 FD (PHI 25th in rushing DVOA, 30th in YPC allowed, t-27th in rushing TDs allowed)
PHI DFS targets: none

JAC DFS fades: Lawrence $5,700 DK / $7,500 FD (PHI third in passing DVOA, first in YPA allowed), ZJones $4,200 DK / $5,900 FD (PHI fourth in DVOA vs. WR2)
PHI DFS fades: Miles Sanders $6,000 DK / $6,600 FD (JAC first in rushing DVOA, first in rushing yards per game allowed, fourth in YPC allowed, t-1st in rushing TDs allowed – one of three teams who have yet to allow a rushing touchdown), Brown $7,400 DK / $8,300 FD (JAC fourth in DVOA vs. WR1)

Key stat: PHI second in third-down conversions at 48.9 percent; JAC 21st in third-down defense at 42.4 percent

Weather forecast: overcast, temperature in the high 50s, 14-15 mph wind, 30-45 percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Robinson hammers out 110 yards and a score, while Etienne adds 70 yards and his first NFL touchdown. Lawrence throws for 240 yards and a TD to Christian Kirk. Sanders manages 60 yards. Hurts shines again, throws for 320 yards and three touchdowns to DeVonta Smith (who tops 100 yards), Kenneth Gainwell and Quez Watkins while running in a score of his own. Eagles 31-24

N.Y. Jets (+3.5) at Pittsburgh, o/u 41.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

Pour one out for the Joe Flacco Era in New York, a time of unbridled enthusiasm for heaving the ball down the field, no matter how effective it was. Only notorious gunslinger Jameis Winston has more total intended air yards through three games, though Flacco's IAY per attempt isn't anywhere near as impressive — the price you pay for making Tyler Conklin fantasy-relevant, I suppose. That highlights the most important thing about the Jets' offense in Week 4, though, which is that we have no clue what it will look like under Zach Wilson. Will he involve Conklin as much as Flacco did? Will Elijah Moore get more attention than Garrett Wilson? What shouldn't change is Breece Hall's upward trajectory. The rookie's outgained Michael Carter in each of the last two weeks and averages 5.3 yards a carry to begin his career while flashing three-down skills. Carter's a nice complementary piece in the backfield, but Hall looks like a future bell cow, and the future should arrive very soon.

Looking at it with Week 4 eyes, the Steelers have an absolutely brutal first-half schedule through to their Week 9 bye, so they better bank this win while they can. Mitch Trubisky is very clearly not the answer under center, but that schedule gives me pause predicting when Kenny Pickett might take over. Do you really want to throw him in the fire against Buffalo, or Tampa Bay, or Philadelphia? I think Pittsburgh fans are probably going to have to wait until after that bye to see what the kid can do, and suffer through Troobs' uneven quarterbacking in the meantime. (That said, I just stashed George Pickens on one deeper-league roster in case I'm wrong, because that catch last week was ridiculous.) It's not entirely clear whether Najee Harris' slow start is due to those passing-game issues, his own foot problems, or both, but his value as a rookie came through volume moreso than effectiveness, and he'll keep getting touches as long as he's reasonably healthy, so I wouldn't be too worried about him.

The Skinny

NYJ injuries: LT Duane Brown (IR, shoulder), LT George Fant (IR, knee), RT Mekhi Becton (IR, knee), LB Quincy Williams (out, ankle)
PIT injuries: EDGE T.J. Watt (IR, pectoral), CB Ahkello Witherspoon (out, hamstring)

NYJ DFS targets: none
PIT DFS targets: Trubisky $5,100 DK / $6,500 FD (NYJ 32nd in passing DVOA, 27th in YPA allowed, t-25th in passing TDs allowed), Chase Claypool $4,700 DK / $5,700 FD (NYJ 31st in DVOA vs. WR2), Pickens $3,800 DK / $5,100 FD (NYJ 30th in DVOA vs. WR3)

NYJ DFS fades: GWilson $5,400 DK / $6,100 FD (PIT sixth in DVOA vs. WR3)
PIT DFS fades: none

Key stat: NYJ t-21st in red-zone conversions at 50.0 percent; PIT t-8th in red-zone defense at 50.0 percent

Weather forecast: overcast, temperature in the mid-50s, less than 10 mph wind, 45-65 percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Hall leads the NYJ backfield with 90 scrimmage yards and a TD, while Carter adds 50 combined yards. Wilson struggles in his 2022 debut, throwing for 210 yards with two INTs. Harris gains 80 yards and a score. Trubisky throws for 280 yards and two touchdowns, hitting Diontae Johnson and Pickens. Steelers 27-7

Arizona (+1.5) at Carolina, o/u 42.5 – Sunday, 4:05 p.m. EDT

Somebody apparently played 52 Pickup with the Cards, because they are in disarray. Kliff Kingsbury's offense has looked lost for 10 of the 12-plus quarters, and the team's one OT win over the Raiders owes more to the defense than the offense. Kyler Murray's numbers don't look too bad at first glance, until you get to that 5.6 YPA — only Mitch Trubisky has been worse in that category through three games, and the three guys above Murray are Joe Flacco, Daniel Jones and Davis Mills. That's not the company you want to be keeping after signing a massive contract extension. Part of the problem has been a receiving corps that's little more than Marquise Brown and spare parts, and Arizona's longest play from scrimmage so far has gone for only 30 yards. Combine that with the worst secondary west of Baltimore (and maybe west of the Atlantic Ocean), and you have a recipe for disaster.

So many 1-2 teams. Sheesh. The Panthers got a gift against the Saints last week, but after losing two close ones to begin the season the odds were good something would go in their favor eventually. Baker Mayfield has been atrocious, failing to complete 50 percent of his passes in two straight games, but when P.J. Walker is your only healthy backup you have some job security. Christian McCaffrey's also hurt again, and while it's not a "miss multiple weeks" kind of injury (yet), it's still ominous. The defense has looked better than advertised though, and all Carolina has to do this week is be less incompetent than their opposition. Given how both teams have looked in the early going, that's not a high bar for the Panthers to clear.

The Skinny

ARI injuries: WR Brown (questionable, foot), WR DeAndre Hopkins (out, suspension), WR A.J. Green (out, knee), WR Rondale Moore (questionable, hamstring), C Rodney Hudson (questionable, knee), K Matt Prater (questionable, hip), DE J.J. Watt (questionable, calf), LB Zaven Collins (questionable, shoulder)
CAR injuries: RB McCaffrey (questionable, thigh)

ARI DFS targets: none
CAR DFS targets: Mayfield $5,200 DK / $6,600 FD (ARI 30th in passing DVOA, 30th in passing yards per game allowed, 31st in YPA allowed, t-25th in passing TDs allowed), Ian Thomas $2,700 DK / $4,500 FD (ARI 32nd in DVOA vs. TE)

ARI DFS fades: none
CAR DFS fades: none

Key stat: ARI 30th in third-down conversions at 27.9 percent; CAR 18th in third-down defense at 38.8 percent

Weather forecast: overcast, temperature in the low 60s, less than 10 mph wind, 10-20 percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Conner plays and gains 60 yards. Murray throws for 230 yards and a TD to Dortch while running in a score of his own. McCaffrey also suits up and puts together 100 combined yards and two touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving. Mayfield throws for 280 yards and two more TDs, hitting Thomas and Rashard Higgins. Panthers 31-14

New England (+9.5) at Green Bay, o/u 40.5
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EDT

The Pats couldn't keep up with Lamar Jackson last week to fall to 1-2, and now they head to Lambeau to try to deal with Aaron Rodgers without their own starting QB, Mac Jones. That's less than ideal. On paper Brian Hoyer isn't much of a downgrade from Jones (and hey, he's younger than Rodgers!) but he's also attempted only 35 passes the last two seasons, so who knows what he's got left in a tank that was never that full to begin with. The backfield will have to lead the charge, and the Damien Harris-Rhamondre Stevenson combo is coming off a game in which they both found their way into the end zone, but as always the whole "keep the other team's star QB from beating you by grinding clock" strategy is easier said than done.

Rodgers might have found a young receiver he trusts last week when Romeo Doubs caught all eight of his targets for 73 yards, including a five-yard TD. Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb remain as veteran hands, but Doubs has been impressing since the summer and could well emerge as the Packers' No. 1 wideout this year. That won't mean Davante Adams-like numbers, but somebody's got to fill the job. While Rodgers figures all that out, Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon will continue to get big workloads, though Jones is the only one to really pop with his so far. The Packers have a stretch of what seem like very winnable home games, starting with this one, so they have a window to get the offense straightened out before their schedule begins to get challenging. Rodgers and the RBs having a healthy offensive line in front of them for the first time should help.

The Skinny

NE injuries: QB Jones (out, ankle), WR Jakobi Meyers (questionable, knee), WR Tyquan Thornton (IR, collarbone), CB Jalen Mills (questionable, hamstring), S Kyle Dugger (questionable, knee)
GB injuries: WR Sammy Watkins (IR, hamstring), CB Jaire Alexander (questionable, groin)

NE DFS targets: Parker $4,600 DK / $5,700 FD (GB 32nd in DVOA vs. WR1)
GB DFS targets: Jones $7,500 DK / $7,300 FD and Dillon $6,000 DK / $6,500 FD (NE 29th in rushing DVOA, 28th in passing DVOA vs. RB), Doubs $4,500 DK / $5,900 FD (NE 28th in DVOA vs. WR2)

NE DFS fades: Meyers $4,800 DK / $6,000 FD (GB third in DVOA vs. WR2), Nelson Agholor $3,900 DK / $5,600 FD (GB fifth in DVOA vs. WR3)
GB DFS fades: Lazard $6,200 DK / $6,000 FD (NE second in DVOA vs. WR1)

Key stat: GB ninth in third-down conversions at 42.4 percent; NE t-27th in third-down defense at 47.5 percent

Weather forecast: cloudy, temperature in the high 50s, 8-10 mph wind, zero percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Stevenson leads the NE backfield with 80 combined yards and a touchdown, while Harris adds 60 yards. Hoyer throws for 220 yards and a TD to Parker. Jones leads the GB backfield with 110 scrimmage yards and a score, while Dillon adds 60 yards and a TD. Rodgers throws for 270 yards and two touchdowns, finding Doubs and Robert Tonyan. Packers 28-17

Denver (+2.5) at Las Vegas, o/u 45.5 – Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EDT

For all the caterwauling about Russell Wilson looking terrible for the Broncos, they are 2-1. That's mostly due to the defense and an easy early schedule, but still, it's not like the season's already lost. It is somewhat ironic that after all those years of Pete Carroll not letting Russ cook and instead relying on his ground game and defense, Wilson's now on a team that has neither scored nor allowed more than 17 points in a game. There have been little glimmers of his peak form, though, and it's not like he doesn't have weapons — Courtland Sutton's on pace for more than 1,600 receiving yards, while Jerry Jeudy hit triple digits in Week 1 before getting banged up. Nathaniel Hackett does seem to be in over his head, but maybe if he can offload some of those in-game duties and focus on fixing the offensive scheme, it'll all work out in the end. Missing the entire right side of your offensive line against Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones could set that project back a bit, but then again, it's not like that duo have done much yet in 2022.

Bad as Hackett's looked though, he has two more wins this season than Josh McDaniels does. Maybe McDaniels just isn't cut out to be a head coach. The Raiders are the only 0-3 team in the league, and they've found different ways to lose each time out — they couldn't climb out of an early hole in Week 1, gave the game away in OT in Week 2 after blowing a big lead, then couldn't slow down the Titans' passing game (???) in Week 3 with an injury-depleted secondary. Davante Adams is doing fine with Derek Carr, and Mack Hollins is coming off a career performance, but McDaniels hasn't gotten either his backfield or stud tight end Darren Waller going, things that were generally the hallmark of his time running New England's offense. Maybe he just inherited Bill Belichick's Maverick strategy of starting slowly while you gather intel about the opposition.

The Skinny

DEN injuries: WR Tim Patrick (IR, knee), LG Dalton Risner, (questionable, ankle), RG Quinn Meinerz (out, hamstring), RT Billy Turner (out, knee), S Justin Simmons (IR, quadriceps)
LV injuries: WR Hunter Renfrow (out, concussion), CB Rock Ya-Sin (questionable, knee), CB Anthony Averett (IR, thumb)

DEN DFS targets: KJ Hamler $3,900 DK / $5,500 FD (LV 29th in DVOA vs. WR3)
LV DFS targets: none

DEN DFS fades: Jeudy $5,500 DK / 46,500 FD (LV second in DVOA vs. WR2)
LV DFS fades: Carr $5,800 DK / $7,200 FD (DEN fourth in passing DVOA, third in passing yards per game allowed, fourth in YPA allowed), Adams $8,300 DK / $7,900 FD (DEN third in DVOA vs. WR1), Raiders DST $2,900 DK / $3,000 FD (t-31st in sacks, t-28th in takeaways)

Key stat: LV 21st in third-down conversions at 35.3 percent; DEN third in third-down defense at 26.5 percent

Head-to-head record, last five years: 7-3 LV, average score 24-18 LV, average margin of victory eight points. LV has won four straight meetings

The Scoop: Josh Jacobs picks up 70 yards and a score. Carr throws for 230 yards and a touchdown to Waller. Javonte Williams leads the DEN backfield with 80 combined yards and a receiving TD, while Melvin Gordon adds 50 yards. Wilson throws for 250 yards and a second score to Hamler. Broncos 20-17

Kansas City at Tampa Bay (+1), o/u 45 – Sunday, 8:20 p.m. EDT

Well, that was just kind of embarrassing. Kansas City's special teams issues last week handed a win to the Colts, though other miscues in the other two phases (a Travis Kelce dropped TD, that head-scratching flag on Chris Jones to extend Indy's game-winning drive) certainly contributed. Patrick Mahomes and the offense haven't looked as good as they did in Week 1, but unlike last season, this doesn't feel like a unit that can be stopped by a clever strategy or a scheme. Either they beat themselves, or you're in big trouble. Clyde Edwards-Helaire gained zero rushing yards last week, and he's still averaging 5.3 a carry on the year, so I don't think his job is in too much jeopardy. Meanwhile, every wideout except rookie Skyy Moore (who may not be returning punts any more after last week) has made some sort of positive impact, even Tampa Bay castoff Justin Watson, and Kelce's been Kelce. The tradeoff, of course, is that lack of a go-to receiver (unless you count the star tight end), but most weeks that's going to be more than enough.

The Buccaneers are also coming off an ugly loss that kept them from being 3-0, but in their case it was more of general ugliness all around rather than exclusively on their part. Tom Brady's had a slow start because none of his wide receivers can stay on the field, but Mike Evans should be least be back from his league-mandated timeout. I suppose you could wonder if Brady is finally reaching the end of the road, but he's still completed 65 percent of his passes, even if he's got a career-low 6.5 YPA. (Wait, 65 is traditionally retirement age ... hmm). Leonard Fournette hasn't gotten much going since Week 1, but defenses haven't had to worry as much about the Bucs' passing game and he's working behind a depleted offensive line. That could balance out once Brady starts picking apart secondaries again. Regardless of how things are going on that side of the ball, the defense is as Tampa-y as ever, stingy on the ground and holding its own through the air.

The Skinny

KC injuries: WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling (questionable, abdomen), RT Lucas Niang (out, knee), K Harrison Butker (questionable, ankle)
TB injuries: WR Chris Godwin (questionable, hamstring), WR Julio Jones (questionable, knee), WR Russell Gage (questionable, hamstring) WR Breshad Perriman (doubtful, knee), LT Donovan Smith (questionable, elbow), LG Aaron Stinnie (IR, knee), C Ryan Jensen (IR, knee), DE Akiem Hicks (out, foot)

KC DFS targets: none
TB DFS targets: none

KC DFS fades: Mahomes $8,000 DK / $8,400 FD (TB first in passing DVOA, second in YPA allowed), Edwards-Helaire $6,200 DK / $6,600 FD (TB fifth in rushing yards per game allowed, t-1st in rushing TDs allowed at zero, first in passing DVOA vs. RB), Mecole Hardman $4,000 DK / $5,500 FD (TB second in DVOA vs. WR3)
TB DFS fades: none

Key stat: KC t-12th in third-down conversions at 40.0 percent; TB t-6th in third-down defense at 30.2 percent

Weather forecast: clear, temperature in the low 70s, less than 10 mph wind, zero percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Edwards-Helaire gets held to 40 yards. Mahomes throws for 250 yards and two TDs, finding MVS and Kelce. Fournette grinds out 70 yards and a score. Brady throws for 265 yards and two touchdowns of his own, both to Evans (who tops 100 yards). Buccaneers 27-20

Miami (+4) at Cincinnati, o/u 47 – Thursday, 8:20 p.m. EDT

I'm sure the 1972 Dolphins are lifting their champagne glasses to their 2022 brethren for nipping that potential Bills undefeated season in the bud, but I'm still not exactly sure how they pulled it off. Buffalo dominated the game (time of possession: 40:40 to 19:20 for the Bills, who ran 90 plays to the Dolphins' 39) and Miami definitely, absolutely did not have their starting QB stay in the game after suffering a concussion or anything, but a win's a win. That late eruption against the Ravens in Week 2 looks more like a product of Baltimore's swiss cheese secondary than Tua Tagovailoa and company becoming an elite attack, though, as they couldn't repeat the feat against a similarly beat up, but more talented, group of Buffalo DBs. I'm not going to go so far as to say this team doesn't deserve to be undefeated, but the '72 gang probably doesn't have too much to worry about from the AFC at this point. The Dolphins' defense also doesn't have great numbers, ranking near the bottom of the league in yards per play allowed, but it's also faced two MVP front-runners in three games, so I'll cut the unit a little slack.

Joe Burrow might get himself into that MVP conversation if he could just get a little time in the pocket. Cincinnati's rebuilt offensive line has let him get sacked 15 times already, tied for most in the league (welcome to Washington, Carson Wentz), and even the Jets brought him down twice last week. Four INTs and a 6.5 YPA are not Burrow-like numbers, but he's at least on pace for more than 4,500 passing yards and 30 TDs again and is keeping his receiving trio of Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd all involved. The Bengals are also holding up defensively, but again, quality of opposition has been a factor as they've faced Mitch Trubisky, Cooper Rush and Joe Flacco. If they didn't have good stats, it would be a major red flag that bad days were ahead. As such, having to contain Tua, Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle represents the unit's first real test of the season, but Cincy might luck out on the short week with two of those guys coming in at less than 100 percent healthy.

The Skinny

MIA injuries: QB Tagovailoa (questionable, back), WR Waddle (questionable, groin), WR Ced Wilson (questionable, ribs), LT Terron Armstead (questionable, toe), RG Robert Hunt (questionable, shin), RT Austin Jackson (IR, ankle), CB Xavien Howard (questionable, groin), CB Byron Jones (out, ankle), CB Kader Kohou (questionable, ankle), S Brandon Jones (questionable, chest)
CIN injuries: RT La'el Collins (questionable, back), CB Cam Taylor-Britt (IR, abdomen)

MIA DFS targets: none
CIN DFS targets: Burrow $9,600 DK / $15,500 FD (MIA 29th in passing DVOA, 31st in passing yards per game allowed), Hayden Hurst $5,400 DK / $7,000 FD (MIA 30th in DVOA vs. TE)

MIA DFS fades: Tagovailoa $9,400 DK / $15,000 FD (CIN third in YPA allowed, t-1st in passing TDs allowed), Wilson $1,800 DK / $6,000 FD and Trent Sherfield $1,400 DK / $6,500 FD (CIN fourth in DVOA vs. WR3)
CIN DFS fades: none

Key stat: CIN eighth in third-down conversions at 44.7 percent; MIA t-29th in third-down defense at 48.6 percent

Weather forecast: clear, temperature in the mid-50s, less than 10 mph wind, zero percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Chase Edmonds leads the MIA backfield with 60 scrimmage yards and a touchdown, while Raheem Mostert adds 40 yards. Tagovailoa throws for 240 yards and two TDs, hitting Tyreek and Durham Smythe. Joe Mixon racks up 120 combined yards and two scores, one rushing and one receiving. Burrow throws for 310 yards and two more TDs, finding Hurst and Chase, but he also coughs up a fumble on a sack that Jaelan Phillips returns to the house to keep things close. Bengals 34-31


Last week's record: 6-10, 6-10 ATS, 10-5-1 o/u
2022 regular-season record: 20-27-1, 20-28 ATS, 26-21-1 o/u
2021 regular-season record: 174-97-1, 146-125-1 ATS, 125-143-4 o/u
Lifetime record: 1308-796-8, 1025-1020-67 ATS, 761-808-31 o/u (o/u not tracked in 2015)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erik Siegrist
Erik Siegrist is an FSWA award-winning columnist who covers all four major North American sports (that means the NHL, not NASCAR) and whose beat extends back to the days when the Nationals were the Expos and the Thunder were the Sonics. He was the inaugural champion of Rotowire's Staff Keeper baseball league. His work has also appeared at Baseball Prospectus.
Backfield Breakdown: Week 13 Running Back Usage & Week 14 Waivers Preview
Backfield Breakdown: Week 13 Running Back Usage & Week 14 Waivers Preview
Monday Night Football DFS Breakdown: Saints at Buccaneers
Monday Night Football DFS Breakdown: Saints at Buccaneers
Week 14: Sneaky Waiver Wire Adds (Video)
Week 14: Sneaky Waiver Wire Adds (Video)
Monkey Knife Fight: Monday Night Football Picks
Monkey Knife Fight: Monday Night Football Picks