Jets v Falcons
The Jets may have won this game outright but their first team really got waxed. Ryan Fitzpatrick (13-19, 119 yards) and the offense had trouble moving the ball until late in the second quarter when the Falcons had built a 14-0 lead and started pulling starters. The Jets are in trouble this year, in my opinion, and a solid defense probably isn’t going to be able to save them.
Even if the Jets struggle on offense I do think there’s two players to target for fantasy purposes on this team. First, Brandon Marshall (4 rec. 62 yards) might see a career high in targets this year. Ryan Fitzpatrick is a limited quarterback. He doesn’t have a gun for an arm, doesn’t have blazing wheels and is a little jumpy in the pocket. To make up for that in this game he was essentially just locking onto Marshall on a lot of plays and letting him do the work. Marshall is such a sure handed-big target that many times, even if the throw is a little errant, he will come down with the pass. I foresee Marshall being an underrated/great ppr play this year, albeit with limited td potential as the Jets will likely still struggle to move the ball consistently.
The other player to target in this offense is Chris Ivory (5 car. 36 yards and a td). I’ve always liked Ivory and have no idea why the Saints chose Mark Ingram over him (or drafted Ingram to begin with!). If the flow of this game is any indication, Todd Bowles looks like he’s committed to using Ivory as much as possible with Powell and Stacy likely only coming in on passing downs. Ivory showed his underrated speed in this game with a long td run (the second team had come in at this point) and ran with his usual power and grit all night. I’m completely down with using Ivory on DraftKings this year as a floor of 20 touches plus 2-4 passes seems possible each week.
The Falcons first team offense came in and basically just had their way for two drives and then, like George Costanza after delivering a nice office joke, they up and left. The Falcons top three backs were all hurt in this game so there’s not much we glean there. The two big takeaways for me are, Matt Ryan (4-5, 75yards and a td) has a real shot at being one of the top 5 fantasy QBs this year and Leonard Hankerson (3 rec. 15 yards and a td) is going to be a solid play many weeks as the 2/3 WR in this offense. This offense just looks better this preseason under new OC Kyle Shanahan and I think you’ll only see it improve when the RBs get healthy and add another dimension. Hankerson looked very fit in this game and the Falcons twice designed plays for him at the goal line, one led to a score. If Roddy White misses time he could be in for some big weeks this year.
Seattle v KC
Kansas City did it! They finally completed a forward pass to a wide receiver td. I’m not saying that the 2015 Kansas City offense will suddenly become the Denver Broncos of the past few seasons, but there’s going to be more passing here than people think. Once again we saw Alex Smith (11-18, 81 yards td, int) take some shots downfield and when they approached the goal line three passing plays were called (two targets went to Maclin, one scored). I think Jeremy Maclin is going to be a better play than most people realize. Desean Jackson thrived with Andy Reid while he was in Philly and Maclin looks to be playing the same “Z” receiver role now in KC. There could be some very decent fantasy days ahead for Maclin and Smith.
In Seattle, the main thing to note would be that Russell Wilson (9-15, 78 yards) and Jimmy Graham (3 rec. 39 yards) are not lying when they say they have developed a connection. I’m of the opinion that Wilson’s ability to move outside the pocket is actually going to make Graham more effective in this offense than he was in New Orleans. There may be concerns about volume of passes and those worries are definitely legitimate, but some big days will still be ahead for this duo. I still expect Graham to challenge for top fantasy TE at the end of the year. The other takeaway would be the emergence of Tyler Lockett (3 rec. 42yards). Lockett flashed speed in week one but this week he also caught 4 passes and showed off his versatility. I really like Lockett in this offense and eventually as a cheap play on DraftKings. If the Hawks continue to try and get him involved and expand his route tree than he might even be more than just a homerun threat and hail mary gpp play.