By Steve Silverman
While your season-long fantasy team may be languishing in an 0-2 hole after the opening weeks of the season, you can cheer yourself up with daily fantasy. With each week of matchups, different players are going to be favored more or less depending on the defense they’re facing. So, we’re going to take you through who’s projected to be the top scoring player from each matchup each week as we go throughout the regular season. Let’s dive in!
Buffalo Bills — RB LeSean McCoy @ Minnesota Vikings, FD proj. – 5.7 points
The Bills face a tough matchup this week on the road against a motivated Vikings team. Stopping McCoy will be the Minnesota defense’s top priority, and it will be tough going.
Miami Dolphins – QB Ryan Tannehill vs. Oakland Raiders, FD proj. – 20.9 points
The Dolphins were looked at as one of the AFC’s bottom feeders during the preseason, but they have gotten off to a 2-0 start and Tannehill has completed 72.5 percent of his passes and has four touchdowns.
New England Patriots – QB Tom Brady @ Detroit Lions, FD proj. – 24.7 points
The Patriots are coming off a rare loss, so that makes them a dangerous team, and they should be able to get the offense on track against the Lions.
New York Jets – RB Isaiah Crowell @ Cleveland Browns, FD proj. – 7.4 points
The Jets have an exciting young quarterback in Sam Darnold who will eventually become the focus of the offense. For now though. the likelihood is that the Jets will try to dominate with their defense and attack with the running game.
Baltimore Ravens – QB Joe Flacco vs. Broncos, FD proj. – 16.0
Flacco is on high alert that his job is in jeopardy. That is the message the Ravens sent when they drafted Lamar Jackson, and Flacco seems to have gotten the lesson to this point. He has thrown for 612 yards with five touchdowns, and he can find the right formula against the Broncos.
Cincinnati Bengals – QB Andy Dalton @ Carolina, FD proj. 17.6 points
The Bengals got off to a sharp start in Week 2 against the Baltimore Ravens and then held off their division rivals for the win. Dalton threw three TD passes to A.J. Green and one other TD in that game, and he will try to trigger the Cincinnati offense against the Panthers’ aggressive defense.
Cleveland Browns – QB Tyrod Taylor vs. N.Y. Jets, FD proj. 15.4 points
Taylor is coming off a game against the Saints in which he completed 73.3 percent of his passes. While the Browns once again failed to come up with the win, Taylor showed he could throw the ball accurately and take advantage of a defense.
Pittsburgh Steelers – QB Ben Roethlisberger @ Tampa Bay, FD proj. 23.5 points
The Steelers haven’t won yet and their offense has been inconsistent. That may not change until running back Le’Veon Bell returns to the lineup. Roethlisberger will fire the ball all over the lot, and he clearly has a remarkable receiver in Antonio Brown.
Houston Texans– QB Deshaun Watson vs. N.Y. Giants, FD proj. 22.3 points
The Giants offense could have a lot to do with Watson’s productivity. If the Giants can’t protect Eli Manning, that will lead to short possessions and more opportunities for Watson.
Indianapolis Colts – QB Andrew Luck at Philadelphia, FD proj. 16.9 points
The Colts are a far better team with Luck than they were without him last year, but that does not mean they are going to be competitive against the Eagles coming off a loss. Luck will have limited chances to make big plays against the quick Eagle defense playing at home.
Jacksonville Jaguars – QB Blake Bortles vs. Titans, FD proj. 15.9 points
It may not be time to brand Bortles a superstar, but it is time to say that he has evolved into a competent quarterback who can make big plays. Bortles is coming off a four TD game against the Patriots and his confidence is sky high.
Tennessee Titans – RB Dion Lewis at Jaguars, FD proj. 11.0 points
Lewis is a versatile running back who can get the job done on the ground or as a receiver. It is very tough to run against the Jaguars, so look for him to be used quite a bit as a receiver in this game.
Denver Broncos – QB Case Keenum at Ravens, FD proj. 15.3 points
Keenum is not one of the more physically gifted quarterbacks in the game, but he is smart and accurate. If the Broncos are close late in the game, Keenum is capable of making big plays with his accurate passing.
Kansas City Chiefs – QB Patrick Mahomes vs. 49ers, FD proj. 23.8 points
Mahomes may be the story of the young season with his powerful arm and he has already thrown 10 TD passes. Look for Mahomes to come out firing at home against the Niners.
Los Angeles Chargers – QB Philip Rivers at L.A. Rams, FD proj. 15.9 points.
Rivers has a tough assignment on his hands against the Rams, and they may be the best team in the NFL. Rivers will not stop firing to wideout Keenan Allen.
Oakland Raiders – QB Derek Carr at Dolphins, FD proj. 15.4 points
The pressure mounts on Jon Gruden and the Raiders to get a win, and it will not be easy to move the ball against the Dolphins at this point in the season.
Dallas Cowboys – QB Dak Prescott at Seahawks, FD proj. 17.4 points
The fact that Prescott is projected to be the prime fantasy point scorer for the Cowboys speaks volumes. It should be Ezekiel Elliott, but opponents are loading up to stop him.
N.Y. Giants – QB Eli Manning at Texans, FD proj. 18.2 points
Manning has two sensational weapons in Odell Beckham and rookie running back Saquon Barkley, but it won’t matter a bit if the New York offensive line can’t protect the quarterback from the Houston pass rush.
Philadelphia Eagles – QB Carson Wentz vs. Colts, FD proj. 20.7 points
The Eagles get their QB1 back for the first time since December, and Philadelphia should be at its best in this game.
Washington Redskins – QB Alex Smith vs. Packers, FD proj. 23.5 points
The Redskins want to establish some kind of consistency after splitting their first two games, and Smith is the right kind of quarterback for that characteristic. He is one of the most accurate short- and medium-range passers in the league.
Chicago Bears – QB Mitchell Trubisky at Cardinals, FD proj. 20.0 points
General manager Ryan Pace has gotten Trubisky some fine weapons including Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel, but Trubisky has not proven he is an accurate passer at this point.
Detroit Lions – QB Matthew Stafford vs. Patriots, FD proj. 17.8 points
The marriage of the Lions and head coach Matt Patricia is off to a rocky start. Stafford may try to match Brady big play for big play, and that’s a losing proposition.
Green Bay Packers – QB Aaron Rodgers at Redskin, FD proj. 24.8 points
Rodgers is the best quarterback in the NFL when he gets just a little bit of time from the offensive line, and he should thrive. Rodgers has completed 50-of-72 passes for 567 yards with four TDs and no interceptions.
Minnesota Vikings – QB Kirk Cousins vs. Bills, FD proj. 24.9 points
The only thing that should keep the Vikings’ primary offensive player from reaching high fantasy totals this week is head coach Mike Zimmer. Minnesota could jump out to a big lead early, and he could rest some of his stars.
Atlanta Falcons – QB Matt Ryan vs. Saints, FD proj. 22.0 points
The Falcons are a much better offensive team at home, and the key to a productive game for Ryan is getting off to a quick start against their archrivals.
Carolina Panthers – QB Cam Newton vs. Bengals, FD proj. 20.2 points
Newton has the ability to make big plays on the ground, and you could see him tiring out the Cincinnati defense in the second half. He has thrown for just 496 yards in two games.
New Orleans Saints – QB Drew Brees at Falcons, FD proj. 21.1. points
The Saints have yet to hit their offensive stride this year, but the sight of their long-time rivals should help them get on track.
Tampa Bay Bucs – QB Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Steelers, FD proj. 21.6 points
Fitzpatrick has been an up-and-down quarterback throughout his career, but he is on fire this season, throwing four TD passes in each of his first two games.
Arizona Cardinals – RB David Johnson vs. Bears, FD proj. 15.9 points
Johnson has explosive speed and power, and that should be good enough most weeks. However, the Bears are coming with linebacker Khalil Mack, and he should keep Johnson in check
Los Angeles Rams – RB Todd Gurley vs. Chargers, FD proj. 20.9 points
Gurley has become the best running back in football and he combines speed and power with a tremendous ability to finish his runs. He rushed for three touchdowns in Week 2 vs. Arizona.
San Francisco 49ers – QB Jimmy Garoppolo at Chiefs, FD proj. 17.5 points
Garoppolo is athletic and smart, but his best asset is his accuracy and he should be able to do some damage against a Kansas City defense that gave up 37 points in Week 2.
Seattle Seahawks – QB Russell Wilson vs. Cowboys, 20.1 points
The offensive line is not protecting Wilson and that will make it awfully difficult for the Seahawks to move the ball consistently. The Cowboys defense just punished a Giants offense with a similar problem, and it would not be a surprise if they held Wilson in check here.