Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars vs Tennessee Titans
Stay with me now, we know that Bortles can give fantasy value to people. This week he’s against a Tennessee Titans defense that they underperformed against. This is particularly important because they should have known more about their weaknesses as it is where new head coach Mike Vrabel came from. Leonard Fournette is the big question mark here, is he fit? If so, how much work does he get?
Bortles just put together a game against the New England Patriots where he passed for 377 yards and four touchdowns. There is no reason he can’t put a similar stat line together for this game. It’s also worth noting that his rushing work can increase his floor dramatically.
Stat Projection: 300 yards passing, 3 TDs, 40 yards rushing
Latavius Murray, Minnesota Vikings vs Buffalo Bills
What, he isn’t even the starter for the Vikings!? Yep, I’m fully aware of that. But Dalvin Cook went down in overtime against the Packers and honestly this game is going to be out of control fast. What does that equal? GARBAGE TIME! I’d expect Cook’s snaps to be limited once the game is in hand to save him for the coming weeks, so I’m expecting Murray to get some nice usage. With Cook’s injury status currently questionable, even if he does play, Murray will likely see a good chunk of the snaps.
Stat Projection: 60 yards rushing, 1 rushing TD, 3 receptions for 30 yards
Keelan Cole, Jacksonville Jaguars vs Tennessee Titans
Keelan is the second Jag to be in my starts for the week, which isn’t normal. But did you see that catch??? Cole is the best wide receiver on the team, and I don’t think the Titans will be able to scheme against him in the same way the Giants did. Stack him with Bortles and I think you are halfway there to a decent result this week.
Stat Projection: 7 receptions for 80 yards, 1 receiving TD
Jared Cook, Oakland Raiders vs Miami Dolphins
Jared Cook blew up week 1, and he continues to be targeted by Derek Carr, leading the team with 16 targets. He even showed decently against the Denver Broncos where he hauled in all 4 targets for 49 yards. Miami isn’t a great team against tight ends, and given the fact you are reading about the start for a tight end you most likely don’t have one of the elite talents at the position. While most players are going to be TD or bust, Cook offers you (strangely given his past) some stability with the targets he is getting. He is also giving you that upside of that ‘big week’ performance we all know he is capable of.
Stat Projection: 6 receptions for 60 yards, 1 TD
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts vs Philadelphia Eagles
This is purely about the matchup. Yes, we saw what an elite quarterback can do if he has a full beard, thank you Fitzmagic, but Andrew Luck hasn’t yet managed to go ‘full beard’ and so I can’t see him performing that well against an Eagles defense that ruined the Falcons in Week 1. In all seriousness, I don’t think Luck is surrounded by the offensive pieces to get him through this game. T.Y Hilton is likely to be schemed out of the game by the Eagles DB’s which leaves Luck limited to Eric Ebron, Jack Doyle and Ryan Grant with a patchy rushing attack.
Stat Projection: 200 yards passing, 1 passing TD
Dion Lewis, Tennessee Titans vs Jacksonville Jaguars
Given my start at quarterback being Bortles, my expectation is that he is able to give the Jags a decent lead in this game. Lewis is one of those guys that you might say is ‘game flow proof’- which I largely accept because of how much he offers in the passing game. However, this week he is going on the road to face up to an elite Jags defense. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a game where he catches a few passes for a modest gain.
Stat Projection: 30 yards rushing, 3 receptions for 25 yards
Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers vs Washington Redskins
Aaron Rodgers isn’t at 100%. Is he going to be able to sustain throwing to all of the receiving options going forward? Probably, it’s Aaron Rodgers.
However this week, Cobb is likely going to see a lot of Josh Norman considering they line up on the same side and Washington don’t move their CB’s around a lot. This to me suggests that superstar receiver Davante Adams will likely be the target hog, with new favorite target Jimmy Graham getting the second read.
Stat Projection: 3 receptions for 39 yards
Honorable Mention: Corey Davis, Tennessee vs Jacksonville
Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons vs New Orleans Saints
With the last two games being shootouts for New Orleans, it’s easy to think that it’s a case of “start everyone”. But not when it comes to tight ends, it would seem. NOLA has been sneaky good against tight ends so far this season, giving up just 44 yards per game and 0 TD’s, despite leaking points all over the rest of the field.
Stat Projection: 2 receptions for 20 yards
Honorable Mention: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jacksonville Jaguars vs Tennessee
By Richard King – @ExcelGeek