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Newton set a Patriots record with 75 rushing yards in his debut. It’s hard to believe 75 yards was a record when past Patriots quarterbacks include Tom Brady, Drew Bledsoe and Steve Grogan, who was probably the last NFL quarterback in history to wear a neck roll. Newton also rushed for a pair of touchdowns and ended up with 25.7 fantasy points despite throwing for just 155 yards. And I know you haters want to besmirch him because he didn’t throw the ball that much. But that’s fine. Cam has the Seahawks this week, who just allowed Matt Ryan to throw for 450 yards and a pair of touchdowns. You might need something else to try to roast him about.
You felt confident enough to start Dak Prescott Week 1 against the Rams and he was fine. Close to 18 points is a good fantasy night. You’re certainly not going to complain. You just wanted a little bit more. Kind of like when I finally watched Bird Box on Netflix. It was fine. But the hype was so huge, it was never going to deliver. The good news is this week should be better for Dak. Not only did the Seahawks illustrate the deficiencies in the Falcons pass defense still exist, but new Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy dialed up nearly 40 pass attempts for Dak in Week 1. And can we talk about how that really wasn’t offensive pass interference on Micheal Gallup? Which I can say objectively and not as somebody who started both Dak and Gallup in Week 1. I can’t. But it still wasn’t PI.
The Patriots handed the Bills the cheat code how to beat the Dolphins defense. I mean, I know it’s kind of hacky to say Josh Allen is the next Cam Newton. But I expect the Bills to attack the Dolphins in the same way the Patriots did. Run the football and let your talented quarterback go in and clean up the touchdowns. The strength of the Dolphins defense is in the secondary and they allowed just 155 passing yards in Week 1. Newton rushed for 75 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Dolphins would like to force Allen to throw the ball because, well, have you seen him throw the ball? I But the Bills have better receivers than the Pats. And Cam was kind of robbed of a TD (or perhaps a third rushing TD) when N’Keal Harry fumbled into the end zone. Let’s note Allen has scored at least 21 fantasy points in every start (four) against the Dolphins.
All right, now you can’t just watch Aaron Rodgers go destroy a defense and be all, "Hey, I want to start the next quarterback against them.” That would be like watching Tony Hawk attack a half-pipe and then be all, “Hey, I’m going to drop in.” It can be dangerous. But there were concerns about the Vikings defense coming into 2020 and, yeah, those concerns were warranted. Rivers had a debut for the Colts that was much like his entire career with the Chargers. Meaning he threw for huge numbers (363 passing yards), but it ended with more interceptions than touchdowns (2:1) and a mind-numbing loss. And yet here I am, saying he’s a good start.
This is probably more my fault for having an unreasonable expectation for Brady, but the interceptions Brady threw really shouldn’t be a surprise. I mean, it was fun seeing photos of Brady in IG working out with his new teammates, but it would be a miracle for him to be completely up to speed given the unprecedented offseason. I’m going with Brady this week. He’s averaged 21.21 fantasy points per game following a Week 1 loss. But more importantly, the Panthers are starting three rookies on defense and have one of the youngest squads in the game. We will see the Brady we wanted to see in Week 1.
Sleepers: Mitch Trubisky (vs. New York Giants); Jimmy Garoppolo (at New York Jets)
Stafford put up 16.18 fantasy points against the Bears but he also could have had four more points if D’Andre Swift had been able to hold on to the football. But as a Bears fan who has lived through plenty of Week 1 disappointment in recent years (Kyle Fuller dropping Aaron Rodgers INT in 2018, Jordan Howard’s similar drop against the Falcons a few years ago), I’m not shedding any tears about it. Stafford has scored 15.05 fantasy points per game in his last three against the Packers. And the Packers have allowed 13.81 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks since 2019 (fifth-fewest in the NFL).
I loved Goff coming into this season. And he was pretty good against the Cowboys. He threw for 275 yards. Had only one brutal interception. But the Rams still insist on running the football near the goal line (with Malcolm Brown!) like they have always done in Sean McVay’s system. I anticipated more throwing near the goal line. I’m not going to abandon Goff just yet. The Rams offensive line is questionable. Goff has a four-touchdown game looming to get back on track for 30-plus touchdowns this season. I’m just not excited about a matchup against the Eagles, who allowed just 178 passing yards last week. Sure, it was to Dwayne Haskins, so it’s like beating Madden on rookie mode, but still.
I’ve long said on Fantasy Live that people were sleeping on the Buccaneers defense who have played really well since the middle of last season. Todd Bowles' system is really starting to take hold. They limited Drew Brees to 160 passing yards in Week 1. (Although Taysom Hill had a nice ball.) The Bucs were destroyed by Alvin Kamara. Meaning I would expect a heavy dose of Christian McCaffrey in this one. With Teddy playing an efficient game, but not one I would expect to produce huge fantasy points.
I thought Drew Lock looked pretty good against the Titans. Could have come out of that game with a victory if Jerry Jeudy had held on to a perfectly placed ball. It was Pat McAfee who compared him to Matthew Stafford and I can’t get that out of my head. Especially after he took that tough loss. This matchup is too tough, though. I’m not going to feel comfortable playing him, either, until Courtland Sutton is ready to go. Lock is going to have some fantasy value moving forward. It’s not going to be this week against the Steelers.
Speaking of Jones, he might have some appeal to you this week because he did show some flashes against the Steelers. Matthew Stafford had some modest success against the Bears last week. But we haven’t seen the Bears at fully operation as Robert Quinn didn’t make the start last week. Still, one of the problems we had with Jones coming into the season was the turnovers. And he looked rather careless on a pair of turnovers against the Steelers. He has the ability to have a four-touchdown game here. But he’s going to have to clean up some areas of his game before we trust him in our starting lineups.