We are on to week 3 of the NFL season and the first 2 weeks have had it all. High scores, dramatic comebacks and unfortunately a bevvy of big injuries. Here’s what we can look forward to seeing on Sky Sports this weekend.
THURSDAY NIGHT GAME:
Miami Dolphins @ Jacksonville Jaguars
The week starts in Jacksonville as the Jaguars host the Miami Dolphins. Doug Marrone’s troops will be looking to continue their rather surprising form which has seen them shock the Indianapolis Colts and narrowly fall short against the Tennessee Titans. Gardner Minshew’s cult hero status is only growing even more in Duuuval as the 6th round pick in 2019 keeps impressing.
The Dolphins come into this game looking to rally themselves after suffering losses to 2 in division rivals in the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills. Their big spending spree in the offseason has yet to yield the returns they would have been looking for and Brian Flores will be eager to steady the ship and rediscover their late season form from last year as quickly as possible.
Money line: Dolphins11/8Jaguars6/10
Points Spread: Jaguars –2.5
The Dolphins are a decent bet here at 11/8. They lost to 2 very tough teams but didn’t look totally out of place. Jacksonville are playing at a much higher level than anyone could have predicted but the inevitable question is how long will it last.
Gardner Minshew has been a revelation so far for the Jags but is still surprisingly available in quite a lot of fantasy league. If you’re stuck for a QB, he’s definitely a good option this week.
Who know what you will get from Fitzmagic on any given week. He has decent weapons, especially if Parker is fit, and isn’t shy to run the ball home himself from close range. Turnovers are a big issue for him however.
James Robinson has put up over 160 yards and a TD running the ball over the first 2 games and he will fancy his chances on improving on that against a Dolphins defense that don’t defend the run game impressively.
2 of the bigger name acquisitions for Miami in the off season were Jordan Howard and Matt Breida, but so far both have surprisingly fallen behind 2nd year man Miles Gaskin in the pecking order. But despite leading the team in snaps, he has only recorded 16 carries and 10 receptions for the season. You may want to stay clear of Miami Running Backs, unless one can separate themselves at the top of that depth chart.
DJ Chark has established himself as a good fantasy receiver. And with the Dolphins possibly lacking Byron Jones for the game, he has a chance to shine. He is supported by promising rookie Laviska Shenault and Keelan Cole but Chark is the one you need to be targeting.
The Dolphins receiving corps somehow manages to look overrated and underrated at the same time. Devante Parker finally showed last year why he was taken in the first round in 2015 and is a threat to put up good numbers any given week. He also has a talented running buddy in Preston Williamsthough he is coming off a game he would rather forget. Health has been an issue for both players however and the depth chart behind them is less than inspiring.
Tyler Eifert is an extremely talented Tight End for the Jags but unfortunately his story so far is on of ‘what could have been’. His career has been blighted by injury after injury and he can’t seem to catch a break. He did manage to play all 16 games last year and if he can stay on the field, he is an excellent under the radar option.
For the Fins, Mike Gesicki has picked up where he left off last year against the Bills, racking up 130 yards and a TD. Physically gifted, if he can continue developing, he can be a fantasy beast.
2 teams here who I am very unsure of what to expect from. The Dolphins should be the favourites on paper, but the Jaguars have defied all expectations thus far. This game may centre around the Jags ability to get the run game going vs the Dolphins ability to tighten up that side on defense. I gut is usually to go to the team that has more talent, so I’ll predict a narrow Dolphins win,
SUNDAY 6:00pm GAME
Los Angeles Rams @ Buffalo Bills
The Rams make the long trip from LA to Buffalo in search of a 3rd straight win but will face arguably the toughest test they’ve had this season, no offence to the Eagles or Cowboys (more on them later). An offense that was heavily reliant on the running ability of Todd Gurley now has a more balanced feel to it, and Sunday will be a good gauge of how far along the transformation is coming. Because they take on one of the premier defences in the league in the Buffalo Bills. They too are looking to stay unbeaten and with Josh Allen in the form he is in early doors, they won’t be lacking any confidence. This one could be a cracker.
Points Spread:Bills –1.5
Nothing sticks out betting wise here.
Josh Allen has begun the season lighting it up. He has developed instant chemistry with Stephon Diggs and looks far more comfortable in the pocket than he did in previous seasons. He is also a threat to rack up yards on the ground, but with Aaron Donald knocking around, he may not take too many chances.
Don’t expect Jared Goff to set fantasy alight this week. He is not usually known as a big Fantasy scorer and playing against Buffalo won’t help his chances.
No major players here I’m afraid. Even though Devin Singletary is the lead back in Buffalo he doesn’t get the volume of work needed to make a big impact, and he isn’t known as a big play back.
There is a committee forming in the Rams backfield and shares on carries might be evenly spread out or just go to the hottest hand each week. You don’t want to be relying on any of these right now.
Stephon Diggs is the stand-out name to me in this game from a receiver standpoint. Him and Josh Allen already seem to be on the same page. Smokie Brown is always a threat to make something happen too but is a very boom or bust player for fantasy.
Cooper Kupp was an excellent target for Goff last year and he can put up good numbers on any given week. But he hasn’t exactly come flying out of the blocks this year and has been somewhat upstaged by Robert Woods and Tight End Tyler Higbee.
Hard to have much confidence in anyone apart from Diggs.
The afore mentioned Tyler Higbee had a huge week last time out against the Eagles notching 3 touchdowns, but that already matches his career best for a season. Was that a breakout performance or an outlier?
For Buffalo, Dawson Knox isn’t a big focal point of their offense. Hard to see him making a big impact.
Big game for both teams and very tough to call. I edge it to the Bills, purely because I think 1 or 2 big plays could go a long way to deciding it, and the Bills have more playmakers.
SUNDAY 9:25pm GAME
Dallas Cowboys @ Seattle Seahawks
Another NFC West team are in action straight afterwards as the 2-0 Seattle Seahawks host the 1-1 Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys will arrive in Seattle in great spirit after last weeks’ insane comeback victory over the Atlanta Falcons. Defensive frailties and early turnovers made that game much tougher than it should have been for them and they will need to tighten up to get anything from this game. The Seahawks squeezed out a win against the Patriots and the form of Russell Wilson will have the rest of the NFL on notice.
Points Spread:Seahawks -5
I like the Seahawks to cover the 5 point spread. The Cowboys’ record against playoff standard teams hasn’t been impressive in recent years and it’s hard to see that being any different for this game.
Russell Wilson has already amassed over 600 yards and 9 Touchdowns in 2 weeks and goes up against a suspect defense on Sunday.
Dak Prescott might be in for another big day if the Cowboys are playing from behind as I expect again this week. His 450 yards and 1 Td in the air was also boosted by 3 Rushing TD’s on goal line scrambles against Atlanta. A repeat of that kind of stat line is highly unlikely but he should have plenty of opportunity to put respectable numbers up.
Ezekiel Elliott looks back to his terrifying best and the longer the Cowboys can stay in the game, the more likely he will be to have a massive day running the ball.
Chris Carson carries the ground game for Seattle but not to the same level Elliott does for Dallas. He’s a solid option on a good day, and this just might be one of those.
Dallas are armed to the teeth with weapons at receiver. The law of diminishing returns might hurt their individual fantasy production, however. Counting on any one of them to rack up enough targets for a big game is dangerous when there are that many mouths to feed.
DK Metcalf is Seattle’s primary weapon and his size/speed combination is a nightmare for opposing offenses. Tyler Lockett is his trusty sidekick and he can never be counted out of making some big plays on any given day.
Neither team boasts a game breaking Tight End.
You are what you consistently show you are, and for the Cowboys that is a team who beats up on the lower ranked teams but doesn’t get it done against the big lads. I don’t see that changing here, Seattle for a straightforward win
32- 20 Seattle
SUNDAY NIGHT LATE GAME:
2 teams that will have a chip on their shoulders face off late Sunday. The Packers have been hearing the critics hammering their decision to draft a QB instead of a receiver ever since the draft happened. So far, they’ve responded exactly the way you would expect a franchise like the Packers to respond, by wrecking whoever has been in front of them. The rise of Saints’ critics has been a more recent affair, following their defeat to the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday Night. Questions of the effects of Drew Brees’ advancing age and the ability to deal with the absence of Michael Thomas have been the talk of the week and the Saints will be desperate not to give doubters a 2nd successive week to throw those questions out there.
Points Spread:Saints -2.5
Over 54 is surely a good bet. Both offenses are capable of putting up the bones of 50 points by themselves on a good day. Both defences could be in for long days.
2 of the all-time greats who have a reason to remind everyone of why they are all-time greats. Aaron Rodgers began his ‘Scorch the Earth’ tour week 1 and has lodged over 600 yards and 6 TD’s in the 2 games. He still clearly has the talent to dismantle anyone he plays.
Brees, as mentioned earlier, is dealing with the inevitable questions raised after the Raiders game but I would suggest giving someone the calibre of Brees far more time before writing him off. He is still a top tier QB until he proves he isn’t, and I need more than 1 game as proof.
2 big time players in this respect too. Alvin Kamara and Aaron Jones are both capable of destroying teams when their number is called. Can’t go wrong with either.
Devante Adams is the headline receiver in this game with the absence of Michael Thomas. But the Saint’s Marshon Lattimore won’t be in the mood for letting him have it all his own way so don’t be surprised if Adams is a bit quieter than usual. That will be a very intriguing battle all day. Don’t underestimate Marquez Valdez-Scantling either. Rodgers clearly has a lot of trust in him.
Emmanuel Sanders was the one most people, including me, expected to gain the most from Thomas’s injury but it was Tre’Quan Smith that showed up more vs LV. It will be interesting to see if that continues.
Jared Cook has been around a while and for good reason. He’s a steady who has been playing the best football of his career the last couple of years.
Journeyman Marcedes Lewis tops the depth chart over rookie Josiah Deguara in Green Bay but if you have either in your team, it’s safe to say you need an upgrade.
I’m not buying the theory that Drew Brees’ age is having the effect being speculated. He looked fine against Tampa Bay in week 1. Whether not having Michael Thomas has a significant effect on this offense is another question though. Thomas’ production is borderline impossible to replace, the first question is whether the Saints can find other ways to get the job done. And the other question is will they have any more success slowing down Aaron Jones than they did with Josh Jacobs? Because if the Packers can run a balanced attack, they won’t be stopped. I’m leaning towards a Packers win.
45-38 Green Bay
MONDAY NIGHT GAME
Kansas City Chiefs @ Baltimore Ravens
The week finishes in style as we get the 2 joined SuperBowl favourites going head to head in a mouth-watering encounter. Unsurprisingly, both teams come into the game with unblemished records so this will be a big scalp to take for whoever comes out on top in this one. The play making abilities in both offenses sets this up to potentially be one of the most explosive games in recent memory.
Points Spread:Ravens -3
Seeing the Chiefs as underdogs doesn’t happen often these days and I’d be inclined to take advantage of it whenever possible. The big question is obviously whether they can contain Lamar Jackson and force him to beat them from the pocket. Their tendency to start slowly on offense and give up double digit leads could be their Achilles’ heel though, as when the Ravens smell blood, they aren’t the type to let up.
Neither Quarterback needs any hyping at this stage. Both are among the top fantasy QB’s in the game. I’d maybe favour Jackson over Mahomes in this battle as Baltimore have a very dangerous secondary and are likely to make it more difficult for Mahomes than the Chiefs will for Jackson.
The Ravens backfield is pretty crowded with Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards now being joined by JK Dobbins. There are points to be had there but narrowing down how they’ll be spread out between them is a tough call.
No such complications on the other side, Clyde Edwards-Helaire is the main man in the Chiefs backfield and could be a factor both on the ground and in the passing game this week. Running yards could be tough to come by however against that Ravens defensive front.
The Chiefs receivers have a tough task on their hands this week, but they certainly have the ability (and speed) to seriously test the Ravens highly touted secondary. The availability of Sammy Watkins is in question after he took a nasty shot to the head in last week’s game against the Chargers. That could open the door for Mecole Hardman to be featured more so if you’re stuck for a WR2/Flex option, he may be worth a punt.
For the Ravens, Marquise Brown is probably still their most reliable option although Miles Boykin is showing signs of developing into a really good receiver. This group might always be held back by how many times you can expect Lamar Jackson to pass the ball and also that Mark Andrews is by far his no.1 target.
Both Tight Ends are fantasy monsters. I also expect both to be focal points of their respective team’s game plans. Andrews, as already mentioned, is Lamar’s go to option, and that doesn’t look like changing anytime soon.
And Kelce could be in a prime position to have a huge week if Mahomes is reluctant to test the Ravens corners too often. He could look to use Kelce and Edwards-Helaire to soften them up.
So tough to call a winner here. I think starting quickly must be a key factor for the Chiefs. But if they do, I think they scrape it.
We are in for another week of exciting action if these games live up to their billing