NFL Game Previews: Cowboys-Giants Matchup

NFL Game Previews: Cowboys-Giants Matchup

This article is part of our NFL Game Previews series.

Dallas (+0.5) at New York Giants, o/u 39 – Monday, 8:15 p.m. EDT

I can't remember the last time I saw a half-point spread, as opposed to the game just being a pick 'em. Like, what purpose does that even serve for Vegas? Are they hoping to drive action with Cowboys fans who can't bring themselves to believe they're headed for anything better than a tie? So weird. Anyway, Cooper Rush is now 2-0 as a starter the last two years, and while nobody thinks there's any kind of QB controversy in Dallas — especially with the team being ridiculously optimistic in how quickly Dak Prescott will be back from his thumb injury — Jerry Jones tries his best to create one this week anyway. Hey, Jerry, maybe try not being the center of attention for a couple days, see how it feels. Dallas might get Michael Gallup back this week but could be without Dalton Schultz, which is probably a wash, and while the defense stepped up big time last week against Joe Burrow, it might be too much to ask Micah Parsons and company to keep doing that every week while getting almost no help from the offense.

Then again, it's not every week you get to face Daniel Jones. The 2-0 Giants are riding high on Brian Daboll's moxie and Saquon Barkley's resurgence, but narrowly squeaking by the Titans and Panthers isn't exactly the sign of a Super Bowl contender. The fourth-year QB

Dallas (+0.5) at New York Giants, o/u 39 – Monday, 8:15 p.m. EDT

I can't remember the last time I saw a half-point spread, as opposed to the game just being a pick 'em. Like, what purpose does that even serve for Vegas? Are they hoping to drive action with Cowboys fans who can't bring themselves to believe they're headed for anything better than a tie? So weird. Anyway, Cooper Rush is now 2-0 as a starter the last two years, and while nobody thinks there's any kind of QB controversy in Dallas — especially with the team being ridiculously optimistic in how quickly Dak Prescott will be back from his thumb injury — Jerry Jones tries his best to create one this week anyway. Hey, Jerry, maybe try not being the center of attention for a couple days, see how it feels. Dallas might get Michael Gallup back this week but could be without Dalton Schultz, which is probably a wash, and while the defense stepped up big time last week against Joe Burrow, it might be too much to ask Micah Parsons and company to keep doing that every week while getting almost no help from the offense.

Then again, it's not every week you get to face Daniel Jones. The 2-0 Giants are riding high on Brian Daboll's moxie and Saquon Barkley's resurgence, but narrowly squeaking by the Titans and Panthers isn't exactly the sign of a Super Bowl contender. The fourth-year QB remains a ticking time bomb under center, and Daboll hasn't yet gotten the full Jones boneheaded experience, although given how little he's asked him to do, he seems aware it's going to happen sooner or later. The team's also getting nothing from its recent big investments in the receiver room, either the high draft picks (Kadarius Toney and Wan'Dale Robinson) or the big free agent (Kenny Golladay), and that trio has a combined five catches for 27 yards so far. No offense to Richie James or David Sills, but when they're in prominent positions on your depth chart, you seem a lot closer to the top of next year's draft than you do the playoffs. The history of this rivalry suggests that whatever chaos is coming Monday between these two jury-rigged rosters, though, it's not going to go the Giants' way.

The Skinny

DAL injuries: QB Prescott (out, thumb), WR Gallup (questionable, knee), WR James Washington (IR, foot), TE Schultz (questionable, knee), LT Tyron Smith (IR, knee), LG Connor McGovern (questionable, ankle), LB Parsons (questionable, illness), S Jayron Kearse (questionable, knee)
NYG injuries: WR Robinson (questionable, knee), WR Toney (questionable, hamstring), C Jon Feliciano (questionable, shin), DE Azeez Ojulari (questionable, calf), DE Leonard Williams (questionable, knee), EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux (questionable, knee), CB Aaron Robinson (questionable, appendix)

DAL DFS targets: Ezekiel Elliott $6,000 DK / $6,400 FD and Tony Pollard $5,800 DK / $6,000 FD (NYG 32nd in rushing DVOA in 2021), Cowboys DST $3,500 DK / $4,400 FD (first in takeaways in 2021, NYG 32nd in giveaways in 2021)
NYG DFS targets: none

DAL DFS fades: none
NYG DFS fades: Sterling Shepard $5,1000 DK / $5,700 FD (DAL first in DVOA vs. WR1 in 2021)

Key stat: NYG 24th in third-down conversions in 2021 at 36.5 percent; DAL second in third-down defense in 2021 at 34.1 percent

Head-to-head record, last five years: 9-1 DAL, average score 30-18 DAL, average margin of victory 13 points. NYG's lone victory (23-19) came in Week 17 of 2020, with Andy Dalton under center for DAL

Weather forecast: clear, temperature in the mid-60s, 10-11 mph wind, zero percent chance of rain

The Scoop Pollard leads the DAL backfield with 90 combined yards, but Zeke adds 70 yards and a score. Rush throws for 220 yards and a touchdown to Jake Ferguson. Barkley piles up 120 scrimmage yards and a TD. Jones throws for 250 yards and a score to Sills but commits three turnovers, two picks and a back-breaking fumble on a Parsons sack in the fourth quarter. Cowboys 20-17

New Orleans at Carolina (+3), o/u 40.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

The Saints nearly blew it in Week 1 against the Falcons and then faded late again in last week's loss to the Bucs, and there are some warning signs they could be headed for a bad, bad season. The defense has been shaky and undisciplined, and I'm not just talking about Marshon Lattimore getting into it with Mike Evans again — through two games, no team in the NFL has handed the opposition more first downs via penalties than New Orleans. The two most important players on offense, Jameis Winston and Alvin Kamara, are also less than 100 percent healthy, and while Winston gets hero points for playing through back trouble, the team brought in Andy Dalton for a reason to be his backup. If Winston playing hurt is just going to result in his bad habits returning and him being the pick-happy guy he was in Tampa Bay (or against TB, just last week), they might be better off letting him heal for a couple weeks instead if that might help.

I came into the season more optimistic about Baker Mayfield than seemingly anyone else in the fantasy business. Not that I thought he was going to suddenly turn into the '99 version of Steve Beuerlein or anything, but the excuses for his poor stretches in Cleveland — last year's injured shoulder, the generally crappy weather on the shores of Lake Erie and the organizational chaos around him — seemed valid enough to think he could eventually salvage his career. The problem was, I didn't factor in his new organization being as much of a mess as his old one as long as Matt Rhule is in charge. Rhule is now 10-25 as an NFL head coach, and while this year's two losses have been by a combined five points, that's a double-edged sword as you could argue they choked in two winnable games. There's some talent on both sides of the ball, but it can't seem to fire on all cylinders at the same time, and the Panthers' track record in this rivalry doesn't suggest that script will be flipping.

The Skinny

NO injuries: QB Winston (questionable, back), RB Kamara (questionable, ribs), LT Trevor Penning (IR, toe), RT Ryan Ramczyk (questionable, elbow), CB Paulson Adebo (questionable, ankle), S Marcus Maye (questionable, ribs)
CAR injuries: CB Donte Jackson (questionable, hamstring)

NO DFS targets: Juwan Johnson $2,900 DK / $4,800 FD (CAR 29th in DVOA vs. TE in 2022)
CAR DFS targets: DJ Moore $5,600 DK / $6,400 FD (NO 30th in DVOA vs. WR1 in 2022)

NO DFS fades: Winston $5,200 DK / $6,900 FD (CAR fourth in passing yards per game allowed in 2021, third in passing yards per game allowed, first in YPA allowed in 2022)
CAR DFS fades: Christian McCaffrey $8,800 DK / $8,500 FD (NO first in rushing DVOA, third in passing DVOA vs. RB in 2021)

Key stat: CAR 25th in red-zone conversions in 2021 at 53.2 percent; NO first in red-zone defense in 2021 at 43.5 percent

Head-to-head record, last five years: 9-2 NO including playoffs, average score 26-19 NO, average margin of victory 14 points

Weather forecast: clear, temperature in the low 80s, 11-12 mph wind, 0-5 percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Kamara sits again, and Mark Ingram racks up 80 yards and a score. Winston throws for 250 yards and a TD to Johnson but gets picked off twice. McCaffrey scratches out 90 combined yards. Mayfield throws for 230 yards and a touchdown to Moore. Saints 20-13

Houston (+2.5) at Chicago, o/u 40.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

I'm trying to think of something nice to say about the Texans other than, "Well, at least they're not 0-2," but it's hard. Houston's offense is dead last in the league in yards per play in the early going, while only Baltimore has allowed more total yards on defense. That's not a great combination. Rookie RB Dameon Pierce showed some flickers of life last week, but Davis Mills isn't looking like the answer at QB, and the roster simply doesn't have enough talent to be competitive most weeks. At least Christian Kirksey is looking healthy and seems to be a viable IDP play for the first time since his peak in Cleveland. There, I said something nice.

Fortunately for the Texans, they face one of the teams they potentially can be competitive against. Yeah, the Bears won Week 1, but get back to me when they win one on dry ground. Chicago looked simply abysmal against Green Bay last week, and if you can't get motivated to face your oldest rival, things are bleak. Justin Fields can still run, but he somehow attempted fewer passes against the Packers than he did in a monsoon against the 49ers. Fun fact: in a league of 32 teams, Fields is 33rd in pass attempts through two games. It's going to be hard for him to become the next Josh Allen if he isn't being allowed to make mistakes from which he can learn.

The Skinny

HOU injuries: C Justin Britt (out, personal)
CHI injuries: WR Velus Jones (doubtful, hamstring), LB Roquan Smith (questionable, hip)

HOU DFS targets: Pierce $5,000 DK / $5,800 FD (CHI 27th in rushing DVOA, 32nd in rushing yards per game allowed in 2022), Nico Collins $4,000 DK / $5,400 FD (CHI 30th in DVOA vs. WR2 in 2022)
CHI DFS targets: David Montgomery $5,900 DK / $7,100 FD (HOU 31st in rushing yards per game allowed, 31st in rushing TDs allowed in 2021), Cole Kmet $3,400 DK / $5,000 FD (HOU 32nd in DVOA vs. TE in 2021)

HOU DFS fades: none
CHI DFS fades: none

Key stat: CHI 30th in red-zone conversions in 2021 at 47.9 percent; HOU 22nd in red-zone defense in 2021 at 62.1 percent

Weather forecast: clear, temperature in the high 60s, 12-17 mph wind, 5-10 percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Pierce picks up 70 yards and his first NFL touchdown. Mills throws for 240 yards and a TD to Collins. Montgomery bangs out 110 scrimmage yards and a score. Fields throws for less than 200 yards and a TD to Equanimeous St. Brown, but he loses one of Chicago's three fumbles on the day. Texans 23-14

Kansas City at Indianapolis (+6.5), o/u 50.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

Wow, K.C. only scored 27 points last week, what went wrong? The fact that last week's output seemed vaguely disappointing should really be terrifying for defenses around the league, because it might be the floor for this offense. Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce probably will be the only two relative constants, but Clyde Edwards-Helaire could be putting himself in that group after scoring two TDs in Kansas City's opener and topping 100 scrimmage yards last week. Justin Watson's score didn't help make any sense of the receiving corps, though, and I think those of us with any shares in it are just going to have to accept that it'll be a dart throw any given week whether those shares pay off. The defense has also held up through meetings with Kyler Murray and Justin Herbert, and it could wind up being the team's secret weapon just as it was the year Kansas City went all the way. Rookie George Karlaftis looks legit, picking up two QB hits and two passes defended in his first two NFL games, and it seems only a matter of time before he collects that first sack. I'm sure there's no particular reason I'm mentioning that the week they're facing an Indy offensive line that's given up more sacks than all but four teams.

I'm not sure it's even explainable why the Colts play so badly in Jacksonville at this point. It's just become a self-fulfilling prophesy, a ghost story passed down from veterans who have seen the horrors of a road game against the Jaguars to fresh-faced, innocent rookies. Last week's shutout might have been the worst one yet, though — yes, even worse than the loss last year that shut them out of the playoffs. The offense has been inexcusably inefficient, and I'm genuinely not sure whether scoring zero points in four quarters on 2018 yards of offense is better or worse than scoring 20 in five quarters on 517 yards. You can blame the injuries in the receiving corps on last week's performance if you want, but Matt Ryan had nobody to throw to in his final season with Atlanta too and didn't look this bad. Jonathan Taylor should still be productive, but he's going to face a lot of eight-man fronts if Indy's passing game is a total non-factor. At the very least, Ryan should get a chance to put up some numbers in garbage time this week, and maybe figure a thing or two out.

The Skinny

KC injuries: RT Lucas Niang (out, knee), K Harrison Butker (out, ankle), CB Trent McDuffie (IR, hamstring)
IND injuries: DE Yannick Ngakoue (questionable, back), LB Shaquille Leonard (out, back)

KC DFS targets: Kelce $7,900 DK / $7,800 FD (IND 31st in DVOA vs. TE in 2022)
IND DFS targets: none

KC DFS fades: Edwards-Helaire $6,300 DK / $7,300 FD (IND second in rushing DVOA, second in YPC allowed in 2022)
IND DFS fades: Pierce $3,500 DK / $4,600 FD (KC second in DVOA vs. WR3 in 2021)

Key stat: KC first in third-down conversions in 2021 at 52.2 percent; IND 19th in third-down defense in 2021 at 40.5 percent

The Scoop: CEH cobbles together 70 scrimmage yards, while Isiah Pacheco vultures another late score. Mahomes throws for 330 yards and three touchdowns, finding Kelce (who tops 100 yards) twice and JuJu Smith-Schuster once. Taylor gains 90 yards and a TD. Ryan throws for 270 yards and a touchdown to Pittman, but he coughs up a fumble on a Karlaftis strip sack that Carlos Dunlap returns to the house. Kansas City 35-17

Buffalo at Miami (+5.5), o/u 53 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

Dominant as the Kansas City offense has looked through two weeks, Buffalo's has looked just that much better. Josh Allen and company have rag-dolled the defending champs and last year's No. 1 seed in the AFC in their first two games, posting more than 400 yards of offense each time, and Allen is already responsible for eight TDs (seven through the air and one on the ground). There are only six other teams in the NFL that have produced eight touchdowns, forget about individual players. Stefon Diggs has four of them, and he might have taken that preseason "Cooper Kupp vs. Justin Jefferson as WR1" debate personally. As if that wasn't good enough, the defense leads the league in takeaways and yards per play allowed and is second in sacks, and has done it without Tre'Davious White and with a generally banged-up secondary. A lot can and will change over the course of a football season, but this team doesn't just look like Super Bowl favorites, they look like a legit challenger for the 1972 Dolphins and a perfect season.

Of course, the current iteration of the Miami franchise is going to have something to say about that. Last week's absurd comeback win over Baltimore may well have been Tua Tagovailoa's coming-out party, as the third-year quarterback ripped apart a tissue-thin secondary to the tune of 469 yards and six TDs. It was a history-making performance, as no team has had a QB throw for 400-plus yards and five-plus TDs while two of his receivers each topped 170 yards and two scores, but that's just what Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle did. I mean, look at this passing chart. Absurd. Talk about blue lines and a massive attack. The thing is, that absurd performance came against an absurdly bad Ravens secondary that's once again dealing with a boatload of injuries. The Bills' back end isn't healthy either, but it's hard to imagine them just ignoring Tyreek running past them the way Baltimore's DBs did. If Miami's going to stay in this one, coach Mike McDaniel might need his tinkering with the team's backfield committee to stay producing results.

The Skinny

BUF injuries: WR Gabe Davis (questionable, ankle), TE Dawson Knox (questionable, foot), C Mitch Morse (questionable, elbow), CB White (out, knee), CB Dane Jackson (out, neck), S Micah Hyde (out, neck), S Jordan Poyer (questionable, foot)
MIA injuries: WR Cedrick Wilson (questionable, ribs), LT Terron Armstead (questionable, toe), RT Austin Jackson (IR, ankle), CB Xavien Howard (questionable, groin), CB Byron Jones (out, ankle)

BUF DFS targets: Allen $8,200 DK / $9,000 FD (MIA 31st in passing DVOA, 32nd in YPA allowed in 2022), Knox $4,100 DK / $5,300 FD (MIA 30th in DVOA vs. TE in 2021, 28th in DVOA vs. TE in 2022), Bills DST $3,500 DK / $4,600 FD (t-3rd in takeaways, first in points allowed per game in 2021, second in sacks, t-1st in takeaways in 2022)
MIA DFS targets: none

BUF DFS fades: none
MIA DFS fades: Tagovailoa $6,100 DK / $7,300 FD (BUF first in passing DVOA, first in passing yards per game allowed, first in passing TDs allowed in 2021, second in passing DVOA, second in passing yards per game allowed, t-1st in passing TDs allowed in 2022), Mike Gesicki $4,300 DK / $5,400 FD (BUF first in DVOA vs. TE in 2022)

Key stat: BUF third in third-down conversions in 2021 at 46.4 percent; MIA 20th in third-down defense in 2021 at 41.1 percent

Head-to-head record, last five years: 9-1 BUF, average score 32-18 BUF, average margin of victory 16 points. BUF has won seven straight meetings by an average score of 37-18, scoring at least 31 points in six straight until a 26-11 win in Week 8 last year 

Weather forecast: cloudy, temperature in the high 80s, 10-11 mph wind, 1-10 percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Devin Singletary picks up 70 yards and a touchdown. Allen throws for 310 yards and two scores, finding Knox and Jake Kumerow, while also running in a TD. Chase Edmonds leads the MIA backfield with 80 combined yards, while Raheem Mostert adds 50. Tua throws for 250 yards and a TD to Tyreek. Bills 31-10

Detroit (+6) at Minnesota, o/u 52.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

Every year or so there's a team that may not necessarily be good but is at least a lot of fun, and this season that team appears to be the Lions. (As someone who still rates Barry Sanders as his favorite player of all time, I wholeheartedly endorse this development.) There's no way a Jared Goff-led offense should be keeping pace with ones captained by Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen, and yet here Detroit is, tied for second in points per game with Kansas City. That they've done it while first-round pick Jameson Williams remains on the shelf and without any real contribution from T.J. Hockenson is just the icing on the cake — the Lions are roaring thanks mainly to an offensive line and rushing attack averaging an impossible (and league-leading) 7.2 yards per carry while the Sun God, Amon-Ra St. Brown, continues to smite his enemies in opposition secondaries. To put this completely ridiculous start to the season in perspective, they're averaging better than 35 points a game, and Goff isn't even completing 60 percent of his passes. Imagine what they could be doing with a real QB! Adding to the party atmosphere is a defense that's given up more points than anyone except the Cardinals. Someone's going to figure out how to cool them down eventually, but both Lions games so far have featured more than 800 yards of combined offense, and I'm not sure they won't make it three straight, regardless of which side of the final result they end up on.

The NFC North is one of two divisions where every team is 1-1 to begin the season, and with the Packers looking vulnerable, the other three teams (well, OK, maybe not the Bears) have to be feeling some faint stirrings of hope. Minnesota handed Green Bay its loss before being humiliated in Philadelphia on Monday, but the Eagles seem like a legit Super Bowl contender right about now, so that's not necessarily a scathing indictment of new coach Kevin O'Connell. Kirk Cousins had one of those games where every mistake (whether his own or someone else's — looking at you, Irv Smith) seemed to increase the pressure he felt and made the next mistake that much more likely, but he still has a ton of talent around him, headlined by Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook. The pieces seem to be in place for the defense to take a step forward too as long as the veterans can stay healthy (for instance, DC Ed Donatell has only blitzed 16 percent of the time, among the lowest rates in the league, but Danielle Hunter and crew already have seven sacks), and the Vikings have the look of a playoff team, if not exactly one that might threaten a deep run.

The Skinny

DET injuries: RB D'Andre Swift (questionable, ankle), WR Williams (out, knee), TE Hockenson (questionable, hip), LG Jonah Jackson (out, finger), C Frank Ragnow (questionable, groin), RG Halapoulivaati Vaitai (IR, back), RG Tommy Kraemer (IR, back), DE Aidan Hutchinson (questionable, thigh), DE Romeo Okwara (out, Achilles)
MIN injuries: LB Eric Kendricks (questionable, toe), S Harrison Smith (out, concussion)

DET DFS targets: Swift $7,200 DK / $8,000 FD and Jamaal Williams $5,400 DK / $6,500 FD (MIN 32nd in rushing DVOA, 28th in YPC allowed in 2022), Hockenson $4,200 DK / $5,500 FD (MIN 30th in DVOA vs. TE in 2022)
MIN DFS targets: Cook $7,900 DK / $8,300 FD (DET 28th in rushing yards per game allowed, t-28th in rushing TDs allowed, 31st in passing DVOA vs. RB in 2021)

DET DFS fades: none
MIN DFS fades: none

Key stat: DET t-31st in third-down conversions in 2021 at 34.7 percent; MIN fourth in third-down defense in 2021 at 36.4 percent

Head-to-head record, last five years: 8-2 MIN, average score 27-19 MIN, average margin of victory nine points. MIN has won four straight meetings at home by an average score of 24-13

The Scoop: Swift leads the DET backfield with 100 combined yards and a TD, while Williams adds 50 yards. Goff throws for 260 yards and two scores, finding Hockenson and Josh Reynolds. Cooks racks up 130 scrimmage yards and a touchdown. Cousins throws for 280 yards and two TDs of his own, both to Jefferson (who tops 100 yards). Vikings 27-24

Baltimore at New England (+3), o/u 43.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

Part of me is still surprised at least one Ravens defensive coach didn't lose their job after what Tua did to their secondary last week. Yeah, Baltimore's dealing with injuries on the back end, but this is the second year in a row the unit's looked not just depleted, but unprepared for its opposition. Fortunately, the offense seems capable of climbing out of most of the holes the defense might dig for it. Lamar Jackson is playing like his next contract depends on it, and at some point J.K. Dobbins will get cleared and unleashed. The decision to hold him back despite practicing fully last week doesn't actually bother me from a fantasy perspective; too often, NFL teams bring guys back a week or two too early and their performance suffers. In this case, Dobbins should be safe to use as soon as he gets the go-ahead to rejoin the lineup, because it's not like Kenyan Drake or Mike Davis seem like big threats to his snap share.

The Patriots won ugly in Pittsburgh last week, and that's probably the formula they'll need to stick to for a while. Mac Jones has been semi-competent, while Damien Harris is averaging five yards a carry and appears to be the clear lead back. Rhamondre Stevenson has been a disappointment, but he didn't get rolling until mid-season as a rookie either, so maybe he just needs some touches before he gets rolling. This is going to be a ground-heavy offense, and it's way too early to consider bailing on him completely. The really big disappearing act has been Hunter Henry with only four targets, but maybe that shouldn't have been a surprise. I was touting Darren Waller's TD upside this year due to the Josh McDaniels Effect, but the flip side of that coin is that Henry no longer benefits from McDaniels' play-calling, and instead is stuck with Matt Patricia or whoever is doing it this week.

The Skinny

BAL injuries: RB Dobbins (questionable, knee), RB Gus Edwards (out, knee), TE Isaiah Likely (questionable, groin), LT Ronnie Stanley (doubtful, ankle), LT Ja'Wuan James (IR, Achilles), EDGE Tyus Bowser (out, Achilles), CB Marcus Peters (questionable, knee), CB Marlon Humphrey (questionable, groin), CB Kyle Fuller (IR, knee)
NE injuries: WR Jakobi Meyers (questionable, knee), WR Tyquan Thornton (IR, collarbone), CB Jalen Mills (questionable, hamstring), S Kyle Dugger (questionable, knee)

BAL DFS targets: none
NE DFS targets: Jones $5,100 DK / $6,400 FD (BAL 30th in passing DVOA, 32nd in passing yards per game allowed in 2021), Nelson Agholor $4,100 DK / $5,900 FD (BAL 29th in DVOA vs. WR2 in 2021), Stevenson $4,800 DK / $5,400 FD (BAL 30th in passing DVOA vs. RB in 2021), Patriots DST $2,500 DK / $3,300 FD (t-3rd in takeaways, BAL 31st in sacks allowed in 2021)

BAL DFS fades: Rashod Bateman $5,700 DK / $6,800 FD (NE second in DVOA vs. WR1 in 2021), Mark Andrews $6,900 DK / $7,700 FD (NE first in DVOA vs. TE in 2021)
NE DFS fades: none

Key stat: BAL t-25th in third-down conversions in 2021 at 36.4 percent; NE fifth in third-down defense in 2021 at 36.5 percent

Weather forecast: cloudy, temperature in the high 60s, less than 10 mph wind, 0-5 percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Dobbins gets held out one more week, and Drake leads the backfield with 60 scrimmage yards and a receiving score. Jackson throws for 240 yards and a second touchdown to Duvernay while running in a TD of his own. Harris grinds out 60 yards and a score, while Stevenson leads the NE backfield with 80 combined yards and a touchdown. Jones throws for 250 yards and two TDs, finding Agholor and DeVante Parker. Patriots 28-24

Cincinnati at N.Y. Jets (+5), o/u 45 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

Speaking of assistant coaches who could be out of a job soon, nobody's seat is hotter than Frank Pollack's. He's in his third season as the Bengals' offensive line coordinator, and no matter what personnel he's had to work with, his guys can't keep the team's franchise QB upright. They're the only 0-2 team in the AFC North as a result, and while nobody's 2-0 so there's no reason to panic, Cincy needs to figure a few things out if the team's going to repeat as division champs. I can't help thinking back to the infographic that did the rounds before the Bengals drafted Ja'Marr Chase over an offensive tackle like Penei Sewell; it's hard to argue that Chase isn't clearly the better player, but the folks who wanted more protection for Burrow weren't exactly wrong, either.

It's been said before, but when you have an elite quarterback under center, you're never out of a game. We will almost certainly never see the like of that Joe Flacco-led comeback again, and I do not want to hear anyone pointing fingers or "just asking questions" about whether Nick Chubb should have gone down on the one-yard line instead of scoring late in the game. If Week 1 hero Cade York just boots the extra point like he should have, all that wild finish manages to accomplish is sending the game to overtime, where the Cleveland running game can continue steamrolling the New York defense. Anyway, the Jets shouldn't be 1-1, but they are, and many FAAB dollars and high waiver-wire priorities have been spent on Garrett Wilson without considering that he's soon going to be catching passes from Zach Wilson rather than Flacco. I'm not saying I think Garrett's bad, I'm just saying Zach probably isn't going to air it out more than 50 times a game the way his backup has. I'm far more interested in how the backfield timeshare plays out. Breece Hall only got 17 snaps last week but turned them into 60 yards and a score, while Michael Carter didn't do much with his 40 snaps. Even if the Jets are playing from behind consistently, I just can't see that continuing. Carter's good, but Hall could be special, and this team is going to need all the special it can get.

The Skinny

CIN injuries: TE Hayden Hurst (questionable, groin), RT La'el Collins (questionable, back), LB Germaine Pratt (doubtful, knee), CB Cam Taylor-Britt (IR, abdomen)
NYJ injuries: QB Wilson (out, knee), WR Corey Davis (questionable, knee), LT Duane Brown (IR, shoulder), LT George Fant (questionable, knee), RT Mekhi Becton (IR, knee), DT Quinnen Williams (questionable, foot), S Jordan Whitehead (questionable, calf)

CIN DFS targets: Joe Burrow $6,600 DK / $7,500 FD (NYJ 32nd in passing DVOA in 2021 and 2022, 30th in passing yards per game allowed, 30th in YPA allowed in 2021), Joe Mixon $7,600 DK / $8,200 FD (NYJ 26th in rushing DVOA, 29th in rushing yards per game allowed, 32nd in rushing TDs allowed in 2021), Tee Higgins $6,100 DK / $7,300 FD (NYJ 31st in DVOA vs. WR2 in 2022)
NYJ DFS targets: Davis $4,900 DK / $5,800 FD (CIN 26th in DVOA vs. WR2 in 2022)

CIN DFS fades: none
NYJ DFS fades: GWilson $5,400 DK / $6,100 FD (CIN fourth in DVOA vs. WR3 in 2022)

Key stat: CIN 16th in third-down conversions in 2021 at 39.6 percent; NYJ 27th in third-down defense in 2021 at 44.4 percent

Weather forecast: cloudy, temperature in the low 70s, 8-10 mph wind, 0-5 percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Mixon piles up 90 yards and a touchdown. Burrow throws for 280 yards and two TDs, finding Higgins (who tops 100 yards) and Samaje Perine. Hall leads the NYJ backfield with 80 yards and a score, while Carter adds 50 yards. Flacco throws for 220 yards and a TD to Davis. Bengals 24-17

Las Vegas at Tennessee (+2), o/u 45.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

It's wild to think about now, but Josh McDaniels started his NFL head coaching career by going 6-0 with the Broncos in 2009, and that was with Kyle Orton as his quarterback. Since then his teams have gone 5-19, and last week's fumbling away of a 20-0 halftime lead against the Cardinals doesn't seem quite so shocking in that context. The Raiders are already two games back of Kansas City in the AFC West, and while the offense has the talent to keep up in the division — Derek Carr might not be anything more than good, but he's got elite targets in Davante Adams and Darren Waller, and that goes a long way — I'm not sure you can say the same about the defense. As for McDaniels as a coach, hey, at least he's not Nathaniel Hackett.

The Titans are also 0-2, but weirdly it seems like a more respectable 0-2 even after they got blown out by the Bills, because almost everybody figures to get blown out by the Bills this season. The fact that Derrick Henry hasn't gotten rolling yet is concerning, but it's also nothing new. He managed 58 rushing yards and zero TDs in Week 1 last season, and just a 3.0 YPC on 46 carries in the first three games of 2018, way back before Tennessee really knew what they had in him. Pre-injury Henry thrived on a bigger workload because the defense wore down quicker than he did, and we don't know for sure that guy is gone yet. If he is, though, this team is in trouble. Ryan Tannehill isn't going to win many games by himself, and even if Treylon Burks emerges as a viable top receiving option as a rookie, there isn't a lot of help around him. The defense is also showing early cracks — the Titans were one of only four teams last season to allow less than 4.0 yards a carry, but after Saquon Barkley got done with them, they're sitting at a 6.1 YPC allowed to begin 2022. Maybe that says more about Saquon, though.

The Skinny

LV injuries: RB Josh Jacobs (questionable, illness), WR Hunter Renfrow (out, concussion), C Andre James (questionable, concussion), LB Denzel Perryman (out, ankle), CB Anthony Averett (IR, thumb), S Trevon Moehrig (questionable, hip)
TEN injuries: WR Kyle Philips (doubtful, shoulder), LT Taylor Lewan (out, knee), LB Zach Cunningham (questionable, knee), EDGE Harold Landry (IR, knee), EDGE Bud Dupree (out, hip)

LV DFS targets: Adams $8,400 DK / $8,700 FD (TEN 31st in DVOA vs. WR1 in 2022) 
TEN DFS targets: none

LV DFS fades: Jacobs $5,400 DK / $6,500 FD (TEN second in rushing yards per game allowed, fourth in YPC allowed in 2021), Waller $5,800 DK / $6,400 FD (TEN third in DVOA vs. TE in 2021)
TEN DFS fades: Burks $4,900 DK / $5,900 FD (LV second in DVOA vs. WR2 in 2022)

Key stat: LV was sixth in net yards per play in 2021 at 0.52; TEN was 20th at -0.26

Weather forecast: cloudy, temperature in the high 70s, less than 10 mph wind, 1-10 percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Jacobs manages 70 yards and a score. Carr throws for 280 yards and three touchdowns, hitting Adams (who tops 100 yards) twice and Mack Hollins once. Henry rumbles for 100 yards and a TD. Tannehill throws for 250 yards and a touchdown to Nick Westbrook-Ikhine. Raiders 28-23

Philadelphia at Washington (+6.5), o/u 47.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

Nobody's won the NFC East in back-to-back years since the Eagles reeled off four consecutive titles to open the 2000s, and it already looks like it's safe to say that pattern will remain unbroken in 2022 after Dallas took home the crown last year. While nobody has a losing record through two games, and the Giants are also 2-0, Philly not only looks like the class of the division, they look like the class of the NFC. Jalen Hurts has followed that Josh Allen development path to a nearly 70 percent completion rate through two games while still being all but unstoppable on the ground, and the addition of A.J. Brown may have been the final piece this offense needed. The same could be said on defense, as the offseason acquisition of James Bradberry gives the Eagles maybe the best pair of corners in the league and has helped stabilize the whole unit, though facing Jared Goff and Kirk Cousins hasn't exactly provided the sternest tests yet.

Speaking of which, Carson Wentz should be in the same bucket as those guys, but he's been slinging the ball around like a wild man to begin the season. The former Eagle has topped 300 yards in both games while tossing seven TDs, and given the way he was chased out of Philly, he's probably got something he'd like to prove here. He's also got the weapons to do it, as Terry McLaurin no longer seems to be the whole show. Curtis Samuel's looked good, rookie Jahan Dotson's come firing out of the gate, and Logan Thomas seems pretty frisky too. Of course, this is still Carson Wentz we're talking about, and only three QBs in the league have thrown more interceptions (and it's almost certainly not the three you would have expected: Joe Burrow, Matt Ryan and Matthew Stafford). I'm inclined to think he won't remain on pace for 5,500 passing yards and 60 TDs, but maybe I'm just a pessimist.

The Skinny

PHI injuries: DE Derek Barnett (IR, knee)
WAS injuries: RB Brian Robinson (out, knee), C Chase Roullier (IR, knee), DE Chase Young (out, knee)

PHI DFS targets: Hurts $7,600 DK / $8,100 FD (WAS 29th in passing yards per game allowed, 32nd in passing TDs allowed in 2021), Miles Sanders $5,500 DK / $6,800 FD (WAS 31st in rushing DVOA, 28th in rushing yards per game allowed, 32nd in YPC allowed in 2022), DeVonta Smith $5,200 DK / $6,000 FD (WAS 32nd in DVOA vs. WR2 in 2021), Quez Watkins $3,700 DK / $5,300 FD (WAS 30th in DVOA vs. WR3 in 2022)
WAS DFS targets: Antonio Gibson $6,400 DK / $6,700 FD (PHI 29th in rushing DVOA, 31st in YPC allowed in 2022)

PHI DFS fades: none
WAS DFS fades: McLaurin $6,400 DK / $6,900 FD (PHI second in DVOA vs. WR1 in 2022)

Key stat: PHI fourth in third-down conversions in 2021 at 45.7 percent; WAS 31st in third-down defense in 2021 at 48.5 percent

Head-to-head record, last five years: 8-2 PHI, average score 26-19 PHI, average margin of victory 11 points. The last five season series have all been sweeps

Weather forecast: cloudy, temperature in the mid-70s, 10-12 mph wind, 5-10 percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Sanders jets for 90 combined yards and a touchdown. Hurts throws for 280 yards and two TDs, hitting Smith and Dallas Goedert. Gibson racks up 120 scrimmage yards and a score. Wentz throws for 270 yards and a TD to Thomas but gets picked off twice. Eagles 27-20

Jacksonville (+7) at L.A. Chargers, o/u 47.5
Sunday, 4:05 p.m. EDT

The (lol) AFC South-leading Jaguars are at the top of the list of teams I'm reserving judgment on through two games. Given the Colts' long history of futility in Jacksonville, you can't really give the Jags full credit for being dominant last week. On the other hand, they put up a pretty good fight in Week 1 against a Commanders squad that might not be doormats either. What I am willing to say for sure is that Trevor Lawrence is going to be OK in the long run after Hurricane Urban wiped out his rookie campaign. The club's offseason additions at receiver certainly help, but purely based on the eye test he looks like a promising young QB again. I have to admit, I was a little worried there might be too many voices in the room this time — in addition to offensive coordinator Press Taylor, Doug Pederson's staff features a former OC as the passing game coordinator in Jim Bob Cooter and a former head coach as QB coach in Mike McCoy — but they seem to be working together well. At this point I'm more worried about Travis Etienne never really getting a chance to shine than I am in Lawrence being a bust.

The Chargers are also 1-1, but they're limping into this game. Most crucially, Justin Herbert is nursing a rib injury and didn't practice at all Friday after a couple limited showings earlier in the week. If he can't suit up, the vastness of the dropoff to Chase Daniel can't be overstated — in his two seasons with the Bolts, the 35-year-old backup has attempted exactly zero passes, and his career track record before that isn't encouraging. With Daniel under center, I've got this game 27-21 Jaguars, and the score I did go with assumes Herbert's at something close to full effectiveness, which might be a mistake. If you want to split the difference with the Chargers winning but not covering, it's an entirely reasonable play. The rest of the roster's banged up too, and the key to this game aside from the QBs might be whether Los Angeles' offensive line can hold off Jacksonville's two young studs off the edge in Josh Allen (no, the other one) and 2022 first overall pick Travon Walker, who have taken turns wrecking things so far. Of course, the Bolts still have Zander Horvath and his guaranteed touchdown every week, so they're probably still in good shape.

The Skinny

JAC injuries: CB Shaquill Griffin (questionable, hip)
LAC injuries: QB Herbert (questionable, ribs), WR Keenan Allen (questionable, hamstring), C Corey Linsley (doubtful, knee), RT Trey Pipkins (questionable, foot), CB J.C. Jackson (doubtful, ankle)

JAC DFS targets: James Robinson $6,100 DK / $6,600 FD and Etienne $5,400 DK / $5,600 FD (LAC 30th in rushing DVOA, 30th in rushing yards per game allowed, t-30th in rushing TDs allowed in 2021), Christian Kirk $6,200 DK / $7,100 FD (LAC 31st in DVOA vs. WR1 in 2021)
LAC DFS targets: Mike Williams $6,700 DK / $7,000 FD (JAC 30th in DVOA vs. WR2 in 2021)

JAC DFS fades: none
LAC DFS fades: none

Key stat: LAC t-5th in third-down conversions in 2021 at 45.2 percent; JAC 25th in third-down defense in 2021 at 43.0 percent

The Scoop: Etienne leads the JAC backfield with 80 combined yards and his first NFL touchdown, while Robinson gains 60 yards. Lawrence throws for 240 yards and two scores, hitting Kirk and Zay Jones, but he also tosses a pick-six to Derwin James. Ekeler manages 70 yards and a TD. Herbert plays and throws for 260 yards and two touchdowns, finding Williams (who tops 100 yards) and Joshua Palmer. Chargers 31-21

L.A. Rams at Arizona (+3.5), o/u 48.5 – Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EDT

This is such a weird week for one-sided divisional rivalries. The Rams seemed to shake off a shellacking by the Bills in their opener by jumping out to a 21-3 halftime lead against the Falcons in Week 2, but then they nearly blew it in the fourth quarter. Lost in the chaos of all the other comeback wins last week was the near-miss by Atlanta, as a blocked punt TD return with less than five minutes left forced the Rams to conceded a safety in the dying seconds rather than risk another one. It's a worrying start for the defending champs, and their offensive line appears to be the biggest issue. Matthew Stafford's been sacked eight times already, and that constant pressure has contributed to his underwater 4:5 TD:INT, as well as a 6.6 YPA (a full 1.5 yards worse than last year) from all the quick dumpoffs. Looking at his intended air yards makes the downgrade even more stark — he posted an 8.5 IAY/PA in 2021, good for sixth in the league. Through two games this season, he's at 6.3, ranking Stafford 25th and putting him in the company of guys like Jacoby Brissett and Joe Burrow, another QB who hasn't had the time in the pocket to air it out the way he likes. Of course, Stafford's elbow can't be ruled out as a factor in those numbers, either. Cooper Kupp clearly will get his no matter what, and he works out of the slot anyway, but whether Tyler Higbee keeps seeing elevated target volume will depend on whether his veteran quarterback is able to start finding his preferred downfield options instead.

Like the NFC North, everybody in the NFC West is at 1-1, but the Cards needed an overtime miracle last week to get there. Arizona's offense started the campaign with six awful quarters before finally waking up, and that's not just on Kyler Murray. No offense to Greg Dortch, but when he's your most reliable skill player, you seem a lot closer to the top of next year's draft than you do the playoffs. His moment in the sun should only last until the Cards' receiving corps gets back to something to full strength, but if the defense keeps coughing up more than 30 points a game (a league-high 33.5), there should be plenty of production to go around for Rondale Moore and DeAndre Hopkins once they're back.

The Skinny

LAR injuries: WR Van Jefferson (out, knee), C Brian Allen (out, knee), RG Tremayne Anchrum (IR, lower leg), CB David Long (out, groin), CB Troy Hill (IR, groin), S Jordan Fuller (questionable, hamstring)
ARI injuries: RB James Conner (questionable, ankle), WR Moore (out, hamstring), WR Hopkins (out, suspension)

LAR DFS targets: none
ARI DFS targets: none

LAR DFS fades: Kupp $9,900 DK / $9,800 FD (ARI third in DVOA vs. WR1 in 2021), Higbee $4,500 DK / $5,700 FD (ARI second in DVOA vs. TE in 2021)
ARI DFS fades: Zach Ertz $4,600 DK / $5,200 FD (LAR fourth in DVOA vs. TE in 2021)

Key stat: ARI t-14th in red-zone conversions in 2021 at 60.0 percent; LAR eighth in red-zone defense in 2021 at 51.8 percent

Head-to-head record, last five years: 10-1 LAR including playoffs, average score 30-15 LAR, average margin of victory 19 points. LAR have scored at least 30 points nine times in those 11 meetings, but ARI has scored at least 23 in four of the last six

The Scoop: Cam Akers leads the LAR backfield with 90 yards and two scores, one rushing and one receiving, while Darrell Henderson adds 60 yards and a touchdown. Stafford throws for 300 yards and a second TD to Ben Skowronek. Darrel Williams gets the start for ARI and picks up 70 scrimmage yards, while Eno Benjamin gains 50. Murray throws for 260 yards and two touchdowns, finding Marquise Brown and A.J. Green, and he runs in a score of his own. Rams 31-27

Atlanta (+2) at Seattle, o/u 42 – Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EDT

It seems like it's going to be one of those years for the Falcons. Two games, two narrow losses and two fourth-quarter rallies that fell short. Drake London's been the story on offense, as the eighth overall pick in the this year's draft is turning big volume from Marcus Mariota into strong numbers. The flip side of that coin is that Kyle Pitts has been nearly invisible, and there may not be enough of a passing game for both youngsters to be productive most of the time, even if Atlanta keeps working from behind. Mariota's never averaged even 240 passing yards a game in a season before and has only one year with at least 20 passing TDs on his resume, and while he might only be keeping a seat warm for Desmond Ridder, there's nothing to suggest the rookie would be airing it out much more if he does eventually take over under center.

Do the Seahawks have the worst offense in the league? They're making a compelling case. The Cowboys and Colts have averaged fewer points per game, but both have bigger names on the roster and higher expectations than an attack led by Geno Smith. Rashaad Penny has stayed healthy but has yet to recapture his form from the end of last year, and now he's dealing with a potential timeshare alongside rookie Kenneth Walker. Seattle still has a couple talented wideouts in DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, but they're going to have to do all the work themselves — Smith's 5.3 intended air yards per pass attempt ranks last in the NFL, which puts his league-leading 81.0 percent completion percentage in perspective. Something's gotta give for Pete Carroll. The less he lets Geno stretch the field, the closer to the line of scrimmage those safeties are going to creep, and the less room his beloved running game is going to have to operate.

The Skinny

ATL injuries: RB Damien Williams (IR, ribs), WR Calvin Ridley (out, suspension), LG Jalen Mayfield (IR, back), LG Elijah Wilkinson (out, personal), LB Deion Jones (IR, shoulder), CB Isaiah Oliver (IR, knee)
SEA injuries: DE Shelby Harris (out, personal), S Jamal Adams (IR, knee), S Quandre Diggs (questionable, knee)

ATL DFS targets: Cordarrelle Patterson $5,800 DK / $7,600 FD (SEA 32nd in passing DVOA vs. RB in 2021)
SEA DFS targets: Metcalf $6,100 DK / $6,700 FD (ATL 31st in DVOA vs. WR2 in 2021)

ATL DFS fades: Falcons DST $2,700 DK / $3,700 FD (32nd in sacks in 2021, SEA t-1st in giveaways in 2021)
SEA DFS fades: none

Key stat: SEA third in red-zone conversions in 2021 at 64.6 percent; ATL 24th in red-zone defense in 2021 at 63.8 percent

Weather forecast: cloudy, temperature in the mid-70s, less than 10 mph wind, zero percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Patterson racks up 100 combined yards and a score. Mariota throws for 210 yards and a TD to London. Penny breaks out for 110 yards and a touchdown, while Walker also gets into the end zone. Smith throws for 230 yards and a score to Metcalf. Seahawks 24-20

Green Bay (+1) at Tampa Bay, o/u 41.5 – Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EDT

The jury remains out on the Great Green Bay Receiver Reset of 2022. Allen Lazard scored a very Davante Adams-looking red-zone TD last week, but only saw three targets in total. Sammy Watkins also flashed before his inevitable first injury of the season, so Aaron Rodgers might have little choice but to let rookie Christian Watson out of his doghouse after that egregious Week 1 drop — except that Watson's also less than 100 percent healthy. That leaves the next guys up as Romeo Doubs, another rookie who's looked like it, and return man Amari Rodgers. Maybe we'll finally get that ARod to ARod hookup people have been dreaming on since the other A. Rodgers was taken in the third round last year. Until that group sorts itself out, though, the offense will be on the shoulders of the backfield, and Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon face a tough task against the Bucs' front seven.

This game's really a tale of two wideout messes. Tampa Bay's off to a 2-0 start to pace the NFC South, but in both cases it felt more like the other team lost than the Bucs did a whole lot to win. Tom Brady has his own issues behind a threadbare offensive line and with a receiving corps that can't stay healthy, and despite all the veteran offseason additions somebody like Scotty Miller could get eight targets again this week. The more fun idea is that Cole Beasley finally achieves his destiny of being Brady's next slot king, following in the cleats of Julian Edelman and Wes Welker, but he might need a week or two to get up to speed. The defense has put up numbers — first in points per game allowed, first in sacks, third in yards per play allowed — and they might have to keep up an elite pace until the offense gets on track.

The Skinny

GB injuries: WR Watkins (out, hamstring), WR Cobb (questionable, illness), WR Watson (questionable, hamstring), LT David Bakhtiari (questionable, knee)
TB injuries: RB Leonard Fournette (questionable, hamstring), WR Mike Evans (out, suspension), WR Chris Godwin (out, hamstring), WR Julio Jones (questionable, knee), WR Russell Gage (questionable, hamstring), WR Breshad Perriman (questionable, knee), LT Donovan Smith (doubtful, elbow), LG Aaron Stinnie (IR, knee), C Ryan Jensen (IR, knee), DE Akiem Hicks (out, foot)

GB DFS targets: none
TB DFS targets: Fournette $6,500 DK / $7,200 FD (GB 28th in rushing DVOA, 30th in YPC allowed in 2021), Cameron Brate $3,600 DK / $4,600 FD (GB 28th in DVOA vs. TE in 2021)

GB DFS fades: Jones $7,400 DK / $7,000 FD and Dillon $6,000 DK / $6,900 FD (TB third in rushing yards per game allowed, fifth in rushing TDs allowed in 2021)
TB DFS fades: Miller $3,800 DK / $5,000 FD (GB third in DVOA vs. WR3 in 2021)

Key stat: TB second in red-zone conversions in 2021 at 66.2 percent; GB t-29th in red-zone defense in 2021 at 67.3 percent

Weather forecast: cloudy, temperature in the mid-80s, less than 10 mph wind, 5-20 percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Jones leads the GB backfield with 70 scrimmage yards. Rodgers throws for 270 yards and two TDs, finding Lazard and Robert Tonyan, while also running in a score. Fournette bangs out 90 yards and two touchdowns. Brady throws for 260 yards and two TDs, hitting Brate and Perriman. Buccaneers 31-21

San Francisco at Denver (+1.5), o/u 44.5 – Sunday, 8:20 p.m. EDT

Trey Lance's season-ending ankle injury was brutal, but I guess at least we'll be saved from weeks of speculation about a QB controversy in San Francisco. Jimmy Garoppolo is now back in the saddle, and I haven't even had time to really wrap my head around the fact that he's still a 49er after a summer of trade rumors. That's probably good news for Deebo Samuel, who hasn't busted out as a receiver yet, but Brandon Aiyuk might not be thrilled. The team's already had to break out the Wheel of Running Backs too, and while odds are Jeff Wilson leads the backfield again in Week 3 (if it's not Deebo), my eyes keep drifting to the Marlon Mack space that's suddenly showed up on the wheel. I'm also kicking myself for missing my chance to predict a Kyle Juszczyk touchdown last week.

Speaking of endless chatter about a quarterback situation, 16 points a game was not what the Broncos had in mind when they traded for Russell Wilson. Nathaniel Hackett has done a great job taking the heat off Wilson with two weeks of incredibly inept clock and game situation management, but at some point the guy with the $245 million contract needs to make his mark. Of course, Denver could simply go back to leaning heavily on its ground game until Wilson clicks and/or the wideout corps gets healthier, but that would just be a stopgap approach. The 33-year-old QB needs to start cooking, soon, and his honeymoon period won't last forever. I'd say the defense has at least been stout, but the Broncos have faced Geno Smith and Davis Mills, so I'm not sure allowing 13 points a game counts as anything more than meeting expectations.

The Skinny

SF injuries: QB Lance (IR, ankle), RB Elijah Mitchell (IR, knee), RB Tyrion Davis-Price (out, ankle), DT Arik Armstead (questionable, foot), CB Jason Verrett (out, knee), S Jimmie Ward (IR, hamstring)
DEN injuries: WR Jerry Jeudy (questionable, ribs), WR KJ Hamler (questionable, knee), WR Tim Patrick (IR, knee), RG Quinn Meinerz (questionable, hamstring), RT Billy Turner (questionable, knee), LB Josey Jewell (questionable, calf), CB Patrick Surtain (questionable, shoulder), S Justin Simmons (IR, quadriceps)

SF DFS targets: none
DEN DFS targets: Courtland Sutton $6,300 DK / $7,000 FD (SF 30th in DVOA vs. WR1 in 2021)

SF DFS fades: none
DEN DFS fades: none

Key stat: SF first in red-zone conversions in 2021 at 66.7 percent, but SEA (with Wilson) was third at 64.6 percent; DEN third in red-zone defense in 2021 at 48.8 percent, but SF was 15th at 56.7 percent

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

The Scoop: Wilson picks up 60 yards. Garoppolo throws for 250 yards and two touchdowns, finding Deebo and George Kittle. Javonte Williams leads the DEN backfield with 70 yards, while Melvin Gordon manages 50. Wilson throws for 280 yards and two TDs, both to Sutton (who tops 100 yards), and he leads a game-winning field goal drive in the fourth quarter. Broncos 17-14

Pittsburgh (+4.5) at Cleveland, o/u 38.5 – Thursday, 8:20 p.m. EDT

Week 3 is always tricky to prognosticate, as you're constantly forced to judge how much weight to give those first two games of the current season versus the fading memory of the season before. Plenty of teams have started red hot, or ice cold, only to erase that narrative over the coming months. The Steelers are 1-1 but are leaning decidedly toward the latter label, as the offense has looked feeble under Mitch Trubisky and and the defense has already lost T.J. Watt. Fortunately for them, no one in the AFC North looks particularly sharp yet and they already have a win in their pocket over the Bengals. The key for Pittsburgh might be Najee Harris. He hasn't looked good yet and might not be 100 percent healthy, but if he can get rolling, chew up the clock and keep Cleveland's running game on the sideline, the Steelers might be able to squeak one out.

Or they can just keep it close enough to benefit from the Browns' seemingly inevitable late defensive collapse. Cleveland is also 1-1, but only by the skin of its teeth, and a unit led by Myles Garrett and Denzel Ward has somehow coughed up 17 points in consecutive fourth quarters to Baker Mayfield and Joe Flacco, with the latter fade leading to a Jets upset. This shaky start to the season is entirely on the defense, too. The offense has done exactly what was expected of it with Jacoby Brissett under center, and Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt have combined for exactly 400 scrimmage yards and five TDs through two games. Brissett hasn't been completely terrible either, doing his game-manager thing by completing better than 65 percent of his passes with only one INT. Defensive coordinator Joe Woods is in his third season with the Browns, but it's going to be his last if the ship doesn't right itself quickly. A matchup with Trubisky should be just what they need, but again ... the QBs that have burned them already were Mayfield and Flacco, not Mahomes and Burrow.

The Skinny

PIT injuries: EDGE Watt (IR, pectoral)
CLE injuries: QB Deshaun Watson (out, suspension), LG Joel Bitonio (questionable, biceps), RT Jack Conklin (questionable, knee), DE Garrett (questionable, neck), DE Jadeveon Clowney (out, ankle), CB Greedy Williams (IR, hamstring)

PIT DFS targets: none
CLE DFS targets: Chubb $12,000 DK / $16,000 FD and Hunt $7,600 DK / $13,000 FD (PIT 32nd in rushing yards per game allowed, 32nd in YPC allowed in 2021)

PIT DFS fades: Trubisky $8,600 DK / $14,500 FD (CLE fifth in passing yards per game allowed, fourth in YPA allowed in 2021)
CLE DFS fades: David Njoku $5,200 DK / $7,500 FD (PIT second in DVOA vs. TE in 2022)

Key stat: CLE 18th in red-zone conversions in 2022 at 55.6 percent; PIT sixth in red-zone defense at 37.5 percent

Head-to-head record, last five years: 7-3-1 PIT including playoffs, average score 24-20 PIT, average margin of victory nine points. PIT has won four of the last five regular-season meetings

Weather forecast: cloudy, temperature in the low 60s, 19-21 mph wind, 0-5 percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Harris gains 100 combined yards and a TD. Trubisky throws for less than 200 yards but does run in a score. Chubb leads the CLE backfield with 120 scrimmage yards while Hunt adds 70 scrimmage yards and a touchdown. Brissett also throws for less than 200 yards, but unlike Trubisky he gets picked off twice. Steelers 17-13


Last week's record:8-8, 8-8 ATS, 9-7 o/u
2022 regular-season record:14-17-1, 14-18 ATS, 16-16 o/u
2021 regular-season record: 174-97-1, 146-125-1 ATS, 125-143-4 o/u
Lifetime record: 1302-786-8, 1019-1010-67 ATS, 751-803-30 o/u (o/u not tracked in 2015)

For more picks against the spread, check out our NFL Week 3 Picks.

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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.
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