Fri May 8 2:41pm ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Cook can improve on last year
The NFL released the schedules, so it is time to see how this impacts the fantasy world. Next up, the running back spot.
Using our rules for our money leagues, we came up with a schedule strength ranking for the running back position. We are using our fantasy defenses report to calculate the rankings. This report can be found in all of our leagues under the "reports" heading. We took the schedule of each team and entered the average number of fantasy points allowed to running backs last season from all of their opponents to get our fantasy points allowed number. This is a good indication of the running backs with the most favorable schedules for fantasy scoring for the coming season.
Dalvin Cook had a breakout season last year and could take his game to another level this season, having the second easiest fantasy schedule for running backs. Cook could be a top-five fantasy back. David Montgomery didn’t have quite the season as Cook, but could get closer to that level this season. Montgomery has the fourth most favorable fantasy schedule for running backs.
Some rookie backs could be setup for good things because of a favorable schedule. Jonathan Taylor, De’Shawn Vaughn and De’Andre Swift have schedules that rank in the bottom six for running backs. These backs could emerge a little sooner than expected for fantasy teams.
A few backs with daunting schedules include Chris Carson, Devin Singletary, whoever starts for the Rams (likely Cam Akers) and LeVeon Bell. You might want to bump these players down a few spots in their rankings. Their tough schedule could hinder their chances for big seasons.
Take a close at all these rankings and tweak your overall rankings accordingly. These schedules could impact running backs - good or bad.
|FANTASY POINTS ALLOWED|
Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
Five Fantasy Takeaways from Week 2
Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera said that offensive guard Brandon Scherff (knee) will miss a couple of weeks. The three-time Pro Bowl right guard is playing on the franchise tag this year for $15 million, and this injury doesn't help his chances of signing a long-term contract extension with the team after this season, but it's much better than a season-ending injury. The 28-year-old is considered to be one of the best guards in the league, so losing him for any amount of time is bad news for the offensive line, the running game and quarterback Dwayne Haskins as they head into a Week 3 matchup with the Browns.
Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton (knee) tore his ACL in the Week 2 loss to the Steelers and will miss the rest of the 2020 season, according to a source. It's a brutal injury for Sutton and the Broncos just as he returned to action after missing the season-opening loss to the Titans with a shoulder injury. Denver also lost quarterback Drew Lock (shoulder) for a few weeks, so it'll be Jeff Driskel under center moving forward throwing to rookies Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler, Tim Patrick and tight end Noah Fant, who has become the best fantasy asset on this team through two weeks. Sutton was in play as a strong WR2 this year after a breakout 2019 performance.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Parris Campbell (knee) suffered a PCL injury in the Week 2 win over the Vikings that is expected to keep him out indefinitely, according to a source. With all the season-ending injuries that popped up in Week 2 across the league, you might say that Campbell dodged a bullet here after being carted off the field. Campbell has plenty of potential, but he only played in seven games in his rookie season due to injury. In what was a run-first offense against the Jets, rookie Michael Pittman Jr. and Zach Pascal should be in on three-receiver sets next to T.Y. Hilton for as long as Campbell is out. Pittman has more upside in the long term, but Pascal shouldn't be overlooked in the short term in deeper leagues.
Indianapolis Colts safety Malik Hooker (Achilles) suffered a torn Achilles in the Week 2 win over the Vikings and will miss the rest of the season, according to a source. The first-round pick in 2017 has been injury prone in his career, which is why the team didn't pick up his fifth-year option. Hooker will finish the season with seven tackles (five solo) in two games. His absence for the rest of the season will surely weaken the Colts secondary, but their defense is still worth a play in Week 3 against a Jets offense that is among the worst in the league through two weeks.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said that wide receiver Chris Godwin (head) has cleared the league's concussion protocol and will play in Week 3 against the Broncos. Godwin will return to action after missing the Week 2 win over the Panthers. The 24-year-old got off to a good start in Week 1 with six catches on seven targets for 79 yards in the loss to the Saints. Against a Denver secondary that will be missing cornerback A.J. Bouye, Godwin has clear WR1 potential in his return to the field. His return will make Scotty Miller a much less interesting flex option in deeper leagues, especially after he had only two receptions for 11 yards with Godwin inactive in Week 2.
The San Francisco 49ers are meeting with free-agent pass-rusher Ziggy Ansah with the expectation that they will sign him after he goes through COVID-19 testing. Ansah has visited with the team twice, but the sides never agreed to a deal. With pass-rushers Nick Bosa (knee) and Solomon Thomas (knee) both suffering serious injuries in Week 2, the Niners are looking for reinforcements on the defensive line. The 31-year-old former first-round pick of the Lions in 2013 had 2.5 sacks in 11 games (one start) with the Seahawks last year and has had trouble staying on the field in his seven-year career. He could provide some much-needed depth, but Ansah won't be on the IDP radar. San Fran's defense is still worth starting in fantasy, but they'll lose some of that high-end potential with Bosa injured.
New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard (toe) is believed to be dealing with turf toe after getting injured in the Week 2 loss to the Bears, according to a source. Shepard will undergo an MRI exam on Monday, but this is an injury that typically requires a wide receiver to miss some time. With running back Saquon Barkley (knee) done for the year with an ACL tear, the G-Men lost two of their best offensive weapons in the same game. Fantasy managers of Shepard should be planning on him missing multiple weeks. Darius Slayton, Golden Tate and tight end Evan Engram will be the team's top three receiving options for quarterback Daniel Jones if Shepard misses time.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle) suffered a high ankle sprain in the Week 2 win over the Jets, and he didn't play at all in the second half. The injury will keep Garoppolo off the field for at least one game and probably more. He was 14-for-16 in the game with 131 yards passing and two touchdowns before the injury, so it ruined what could have been a really good game for him. Already a low-ceiling QB2 in a run-first offense, Jimmy G can obviously be avoided for a few weeks in superflex leagues. Nick Mullens replaced Garoppolo in the second half on Sunday and should get the starts moving forward, but he doesn't have much fantasy appeal as more of a game manager under center.
Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores said that safety Byron Jones (groin) would "have to heal pretty quickly" in order to play on Thursday night against the Jaguars. At this point, Jones is a long shot to play in Week 3, which will leave Miami's secondary a bit more vulnerable against quarterback Gardner Minshew II and company. It's good news for Jacksonville wide receivers DJ Chark Jr. and rookie Laviska Shenault Jr. Jones had one tackle in Week 2 and has four total tackles through two weeks with his new team. You should be ignoring the Dolphins Defense in fantasy.
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Tyrod Taylor (chest) was released from the hospital late Sunday night after dealing with chest pain. His chest issue will be evaluated throughout the week, and head coach Anthony Lynn said that Taylor will remain the team's starter if he's fully healthy. The Chargers probably won't rush Taylor back after rookie Justin Herbert looked very solid in his NFL debut in the overtime loss to the Chiefs in Week 2. Lynn has been very loyal to Taylor, but even though Herbert had some rookie mistakes on Sunday, he probably presents the team with more upside right now. Keep a close eye on Taylor's status this week. If Taylor can't go for Week 3, the rookie signal-caller would become an attractive QB2 in superflex leagues in a great matchup with Carolina.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Zach Pascal caught three balls for 19 yards and a touchdown in a win against the Vikings. Pascal has just seven targets over the first two weeks. The Colts are much higher on young receiversParris Campbell and Michael Pittman Jr. Campbell was injured in Week 2, so this may open the door for Pascal to see more targets with Campbell out indefinitely. With this being said, Pascal has just two games in his career where he has over 100 yards. History suggests that even with more opportunity, Pascal does not hold much value in any fantasy lineup. He will match up against the Jets next week and is worth considering as a waiver pickup in deeper leagues if you're hurting at the position.
Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay (hamstring), who has missed the first two weeks of the season, is expected to return in Week 3 against the Cardinals, according to a league source. Golladay was close to playing in Week 2, but the Lions didn't want to risk aggravating the injury. The 26-year-old led the league with 11 touchdowns in 2019 and finished seventh in the league with 1,190 receiving yards, which was his second straight season with over 1,000 yards receiving. You still need to keep an eye on Golladay's practice status this week, but it looks like you can insert him back into starting lineups against Arizona, where he'll have WR1 upside if he's at full strength.
The Seattle Seahawks Defense got a takeaway in Week 2, but they struggled to slow down the New England Patriots all game long. They ran up 30 points on them and nearly lost the game late before a goal-line stand against quarterback Cam Newton. Cornerback Quinton Dunbar snagged an interception, but that was about the only positive this defense had, with only one sack on the night. Based on what we've seen through two weeks, it looks like this defense should be faded when you're looking for streaming options after allowing 55 points through two games.
Indianapolis Colts tight end Mo Alie-Cox took advantage of his opportunity, grabbing five balls for a game-high 111 receiving yards in Week 2 against the Vikings. Alie-Cox was inserted in the starting lineup due to an injury to starting tight end Jack Doyle. This was just the fourth start of his three-year career, and it is the first time where he had over two catches in a game. It was a nice performance, but this is more of a statistical anomaly than something we can expect to see going forward. He will have a good matchup next week against the Jets, but do not expect to see the same performance, especially if Doyle returns to the fold.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett wasn't quite perfect in Week 2, but he was pretty close to it. He caught seven of his eight targets for 67 yards and a touchdown. Lockett is quickly becoming one of the best fantasy wide receivers to roster, and with the connection he has with quarterback Russell Wilson, he's a threat to finish as a WR1 on a weekly basis. Just like Wilson, you should have no doubts about starting him every week, regardless of his matchup.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf went long again in Week 2 and he turned in another solid fantasy outing. He caught four of his six targets for 92 yards and a touchdown. This is the second week in a row that Metcalf has averaged over 20 yards per reception, and it's clear that this offense is content to allow quarterback Russell Wilson to stretch the field more and more. As long as Wilson is airing it out, Metcalf is going to have WR2 upside on a weekly basis thanks to his big-play ability. His performance on Sunday night was even more impressive, considering the fact that he was being covered by Patriots All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore. Metcalf is the real deal, folks.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver David Moore had the most improbable touchdown of the season on Sunday night, but it counts just the same. He caught all three of his targets for 48 yards and the score. Due to wide receiver Phillip Dorsett's (foot) injury, the third wide receiver role in Seattle is up for grabs. He's shown a connection with quarterback Russell Wilson so far in his career, and as long as Dorsett remains out, Moore is going to present WR4/5 value on a weekly basis in deeper leagues.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Freddie Swain seized the day in Week 2. Thanks to a nifty route design, he was wide open to catch his only target en route to a 21-yard touchdown. It was clear that Swain was the fourth receiving option among pass-catchers when you don't include the running backs. Moving forward, he's going to be nothing more than a flyer in extremely deep leagues, but you could be doing much worse than getting a talented pass-catcher in one of the league's best offenses.
Seattle Seahawks kicker Jason Myers was perfect in Week 2, but he was unable to get any field-goal opportunities due to his efficient offense. He went 5-for-5 on his extra points, and it was nice to get a solid outing from him. It's unlikely that this offense is going to score touchdowns exclusively moving forward, and you should get safe production out of him every week. If you're looking for a kicker that's going to get you points every week because of Seattle's high-scoring offense, Myers should be on your radar.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson finished another phenomenal night in Week 2 with a thrilling win over the New England Patriots. He finished the night 21 of 28 for 288 yards with five touchdowns and one interception. He also added five carries for 39 yards on the ground. His impressive performance nearly wasn't enough, but his defense was able to hold on for a win. Wilson looks like the early favorite for the MVP award, and he's going to be winning a lot of fantasy MVPs if he keeps playing at this level. Fire him up every week with no doubts.