This piece is a day late coming out this week, and for that, I apologize. Unfortunately, this means my second option at D/ST has already played (and scored a solid nine points). Don't miss The Fantasy Takeaway Podcast each Thursday for our weekly Cheap Dates segment featuring takes from special guests like Mike Wright of The Fantasy Footballers Podcast, Ronnie Evans of the Dynasty ER Podcast, Xavier ‘Coach X' Warner of Top Shelf Daily Fantasy Football, and many more to come as the 2018 NFL season heats up. You can make sure you don't miss an episode by subscribing on Apple Podcasts here.
Andy Dalton vs. Carolina Panthers (ESPN: 26.6%, Yahoo!: 32%, NFL: 6.8%)
Dalton is quietly putting together an early season performance reminiscent of the years when the fantasy community referred to him a borderline elite option at the position. His Week 2 four-touchdown performance was just the fourth of his career, and his six touchdowns represent his highest total through two weeks in his seven-year career. Carolina is fresh off allowing a 30+ point performance to Matt Ryan and the Falcons inconsistent Steve Sarkisian run offense. The fact that Dalton had lower fantasy ownership to start this week than Mitch Trubisky on any platform is borderline criminal. Consider Dalton a viable stream-to-start option in all plus matchups going forward.
Blake Bortles vs. Tennessee Titans (ESPN: 21%, Yahoo!: 37%, NFL: 19.6%)
The Bortles play is volatile. If Leonard Fournette suits up and plays a significant role on Sunday, it might be wise to find another streamer. Bortles should have a safe floor, but Fournette's presence in the lineup drastically limits his ceiling; he averages 328 yards per game without Fournette and 210 with him in uniform. The Titans will provide little resistance on the back end for Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook, and that Jaguars receiving corps, but if Bortles throws only 25 passes, his upside might be capped in the 15 point range. If ceiling is what you’re looking for out of your Week 3 quarterback streamer and Fournette logs a full practice on Friday, consider firing up my Cheap Dates honorable mention.
Mitch Trubisky @ Arizona Cardinals (ESPN: 23%, Yahoo!: 15%, NFL: 4.3%)
Corey Clement vs. Indianapolis Colts (ESPN: 54.5%, Yahoo!: 43%, NFL: 27.9%)
Jay Ajayi (Back) and Darren Sproles (Hamstring) will most likely miss Sunday's contest with the Colts. In Sproles absence, and with Ajayi seeing limited action, Clement tallied 85 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown, catching five of six targets. That's 19.5 points in PPR. Not too shabby for a guy drafted outside the top 50 running backs in 2018. Don't expect Clement to maintain a meaningful workload when Ajayi finds his way back to the playing field, but until then, he's a safe floor play with upside that can be found on the waiver wire in nearly half of all fantasy leagues.
Javorius Allen vs. Denver Broncos (ESPN: 36.4%, Yahoo!: 23%, NFL: 7.8%)
Buck Allen isn't a streamer. He doesn't belong in this article, but you'll find him here every week until his ownership levels creep past the 50 percent mark on all platforms. Allen is the goal line back for Baltimore. It's inexplicable, but it's a fact Alex Collins owners might just have to accept until Collins can prove his worth in pass protection. The Ravens staff apparently doesn't feel comfortable putting Collins on the field in situations that could dictate an audible that would put him in pass protection. Allen is an elite pass blocker. Until Collins can at least become proficient in that regard, Allen has value each and every week.
Calvin Ridley @ New Orleans Saints (ESPN: 39.9%, Yahoo!: 32%, NFL: 11.1%)
Julio Jones (Calf) was on the sidelines again for the Falcons Thursday practice session, and while it doesn't look like he's in danger of missing Sunday vs. New Orleans, more reps for Calvin Ridley with the first team offense can only mean faster progression toward taking over as the number two in that offense. Ridley garnered five targets and hauled in four of them for 64 yards in the Falcons Week 2 win over Carolina. The over/under of 53.5 and implied total just north of 28 suggest ample touchdown opportunity for the Atlanta pass
Chris Godwin vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (ESPN: 37.2%, Yahoo!: 40%, NFL: 6.0%)
Chris Godwin is developing into a top-flight mid-tier option at the wide receiver position. With Mike Evans in front of him, his ceiling is moderately capped, but his floor gets safer each week. Last week I mentioned Godwin's 13.5 point average when accumulating at least six targets; last week Godwin had six targets, five catches, 56 yards, and a score for a total of 16.6 points. Just like with Ridley, the over/under of 54 in this game suggests ample scoring opportunities for all pass catchers. Unless Ryan Fitzpatrick forgets his big boy pants on Sunday and slides back into his customary poopy ones, Godwin should have a fine day against the Steelers swiss cheese secondary.
Ryan Grant @ Philadelphia Eagles (ESPN: 12.6%, Yahoo!: 5%, NFL: 0.3%)
Grant struggled to get going in Week 2 vs. Washington, but the game script wasn't conducive to a pass-heavy offensive attack from the Colts. This week could be a different story with the return of Carson Wentz for the Eagles. Andrew Luck threw 53 passes in the Colts Week 1 loss to the Bengals. Indianapolis is a 6.5 point dog with a 47.5 point over/under this week in Philadelphia, so the volume should be there for better numbers for the Colts pass catchers in Week 3. Expect scoring much closer to Grant's Week 1 13.9 points than than his pathetic five points in Week 2.
O.J. Howard vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (ESPN: 57.8%, Yahoo!: 80%, NFL: 42%)
This will be the last week O.J. Howard finds himself in a streamers article; with 50+ percent ownership on Yahoo! and ESPN, the fantasy community is catching on. He's an elite physical specimen, and his blocking prowess means he'll be on the field more often than not for the Buccaneers going forward. Howard is a massive breakout candidate with enormous upside in an offense ready to sling it. The implied totals for Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay are astronomical in this game, but Howard is a start regardless of matchup going forward.
Jake Butt @ Baltimore Ravens (ESPN: 2.6%, Yahoo!: 4%, NFL: 0.9%)
The Ravens gave up 14.7 points to the Bengals tight ends in Week 2. With stud linebacker C.J. Mosley likely out, Baltimore is thin at inside linebacker. Butt is an elite talent, but it's taken him until now to start realizing his potential because of a gruesome knee injury suffered during the Orange Bowl his senior year at Michigan. With a target increase from four in Week 1 to six in Week 2, it's evident that Denver wants to get him involved, and considering Baltimore's struggles on the defensive side of the football, especially in the middle of the field, Butt is an excellent emergency option with low single-digit ownership across all platforms.
Jesse James @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (ESPN: 28.3%, Yahoo!: 42%, NFL: 24.3%)
Jesse James has the hot hand in Pittsburgh. He may not be as athletic as Vance McDonald, but he's a sure-handed, big-bodied option with a nose for the end zone and solid chemistry with his quarterback. Until McDonald can get things going, you can fire up James with confidence in that high-powered Steelers offense.
Cowboys D/ST @ Seattle Seahawks (ESPN: 30.2%, Yahoo!: 25%, NFL: 12.8%)
In this matchup, you have the number two defense in sacks up against the number one offense in sacks allowed. Need I say more? DeMarcus Lawrence is going to eat. Russell Wilson will be running for his life. The Cowboys have allowed just 29 points through two weeks, and are averaging nine points per game. As long as Sean Lee suits up, Dallas D/ST should be solid.
Browns D/ST vs. New York Jets (ESPN: 30.6%, Yahoo!: 57%, NFL: 16.6%)
The Browns played the Jets on Thursday night and put up nine points, but you already know that. The reason I included them in this piece is that the Browns were one of the defenses mentioned on this week's Thursday episode of The Fantasy Takeaway. Please make sure to tune in every Thursday for more solid streaming picks from Murphy & me, and our guests.